Animal-rights organization, PETA, has faced backlash online after tweeting about late TV star and Australian conservationist Steve Irwin.
'A dangerous, fawning message'
Following Google's celebration of Irwin, who would have turned 57 this year, PETA published a thread of tweets slamming the star: "Steve Irwin was killed while harassing a ray; he dangled his baby while feeding a crocodile & wrestled wild animals who were minding their own business. Today’s #GoogleDoodle sends a dangerous, fawning message. Wild animals are entitled to be left alone in their natural habitats.
"Steve Irwin's actions were not on target with his supposed message of protecting wildlife. A real wildlife expert & someone who respects animals for the individuals they are leaves them to their own business in their natural homes."
PETA, whose tweets attracted over 70,000 comments, added: "It is harassment to drag exotic animals, including babies taken from their mothers, around from TV talk shows to conferences & force them to perform as Steve Irwin did. Animals deserve to live as they want to, not as humans demand–the #GoogleDoodle should represent that."
'A personal and vicious attack'
The tweet attracted a lot of criticism, with one person saying: "I feel it’s safe to assume that I speak for all Aussie’s when I say this, PETA you f***ed up real bad and talking s**t about our beautiful Steve is like a personal and vicious attack on every single Aussie......you just started war with an entire country!"
PETA's Wikipedia page was also temporarily edited to read: "An a**hole extremist organization based in the fiery pits of hell, and led by Satan himself, its international president.
"In addition to claiming that is the largest pet murdering group in the world. Its slogan is 'Animals are meant to be taken from their owners and murdered'. People who actually help animals, like Steve Irwin, are evil and deserve to die."
This is the second time in recent days that PETA has caused controversy online, after publishing tweets dubbed as 'cruel' about the late fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld.
In response to the fake Wikipedia page, PETA Director Elisa Allen, said: "The vitriol of this troll's post speaks for itself. PETA US' tweet was simply an honest, factual comment stating that it was inappropriate for Google to create a candy-coated cartoon glorifying someone who spent his life interfering with wild animals."