‘The gorilla channel thing is a joke’: Trump gag gains traction

Twitter users ‘totally punked’ by fake extract from ‘Fire and Fury’ book

A Twitter hoax became the gorilla in the room at the height of excitment over Michael Wolff’s book on life in Donald Trump’s White House. Image: iStock.

A Twitter hoax became the gorilla in the room at the height of excitment over Michael Wolff’s book on life in Donald Trump’s White House. Image: iStock.

 

With tales of White House tantrums, fast food addictions, early bed times and questionable sources swirling after the publication of Michael Wolff’s book on the goings on in Donald Trump’s administration, there was always the potential for a gorilla to appear in the room.

Would-be readers flocked to buy Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - the publication of which was brought forward amid threats of a lawsuit by the US president - as passages filled the airwaves, websites and TV screens around the world.

The claims featured in the book include that Mr Trump and those around him never expected to win the 2016 election, media mogul Rupert Murdoch thinks the president is a “f**king moron,” the Trump family regard their new roles as stepping stones and that Mr Trump turned his White House bedroom into a TV-watching retreat for some very specific programming.

Tales of Mr Trump’s love for TV gathered pace and one of these, alleging that he supposedly watched a “gorilla channel” for hours on end, gained traction on social media.

The “excerpt” from the book stated that the president, on his first night in office, complained that TVs in the White House did not carry “the gorilla channel”.

Tweets:

It went on to say that his staff ultimately created programming to satisfy his appetite for watching the animals and that this was broadcast into his room from a makeshift transmission tower.

Alas, their efforts were said to have not satisfied Mr Trump’s wishes because the footage was “boring” as the “gorillas weren’t fighting”.

Many Twitter users took seriously the excerpt, posted by @pixelatedboat, who described the passage as a “shocking insight into Trump’s mind”.

The fake news spread and among those stung by the gag was Eric Garland, a commentator with nearly 175,000 Twitter followers who is known for his views on Mr Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

“I got totally punked on the Gorilla Channel thing - but when you’ve already gotten to ‘eating KFC in bed,’ I mean, we’re through the looking glass,” Mr Garland tweeted Friday.

The spread of the story prompted @pixelatedboat to subsequently post a clarification and switch his user name to “the gorilla channel thing is a joke”.

The man behind the claim, aka cartoonist Ben Ward, later tweeted that he had parodied “a guy making up shit about Trump but people believe it so you become part of the problem”.

Ward has been credited with creating the term “milkshake duck” to describe someone who became a fast rising internet star and won adornment before the discovery of them having a distasteful or offensive past.

The 2016 term has been taken on board by Oxford Dictionaries which defines a milkshake duck as “a person or character on social media that appears to be endearing at first, but is found to have an unappealing back story”.

Last month the dictionary firm declared the phrase was runner up in its word of the year competition, losing out to “youthquake”.