The hunt for the man who was photographed lying naked on top of a dead shark continues after two high-profile suspects publicly denied accusations.
The disturbing photo was shared on Twitter on May 5 by British wildlife TV presenter and filmmaker Anneka Svenska, the Daily Mail reported. She shared the image in an attempt to help identify the naked man who is smiling as he straddles a dead shark.
“Who is this man?” Svenska tweeted. “Please RT, find him & ask him why he did this? Where is the humour in humiliating slaughtered animals?”
The Twitterverse began its detective work. An early suspect was famed Florida Gators football coach Jim McElwain, with some social media users pointing out a slight resemblance.
But McElwain quickly put the rumors to rest and denied the allegations.
“I don’t know who it is, but it isn’t me,” McElwain said at a press conference on May 9 as his wife sat beside him.
With one suspect out of the picture, Twitter users then turned their attention to another possible culprit, Jimmy John Liautaud, the founder of sandwich chain Jimmy John’s.
“Animal serial killer Jimmy John Liautaud smiling/posing next to some of his victims>(laying naked on a dead shark wouldn’t surprise me),” wrote one Twitter user.
Liautaud is known to have once been an avid hunter. He has been photographed posing alongside dead elephants, rhinoceroses and bears.
In a 2015 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Liautaud said he had stopped hunting big game.
“I choose to hunt and I choose to fish,” he said. “Everything I’ve done has been totally legal. And the meat has been eaten, if not by me than by someone I’m with. I don’t hunt big African game anymore.”
Liautaud’s old hunting photos began circulating throughout social media, with several users pointing out the resemblance.
On May 9, a spokesman for the sandwich chain owner said the man in the viral photo is absolutely not Liautaud, and that the image has nothing to do with Jimmy John’s, Deadspin reported.
While the search for the man in the photo continues, several social media users are left wondering why someone would do such a thing.
“We think people degrade themselves by the way they treat other humans,” wrote one Twitter user. “And then we see how they treat animals.”
“That is nasty & he is supposed to be the ‘higher evolved, civilized’ of those two?” wondered another. “I beg to differ.”
“I agree with most of your sentiments, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the animal that’s being humiliated,” tweeted another user.
“I would venture to say he is humiliating himself, especially since millions of people can see this now,” wrote another observer. “You can’t cut stupid with a knife.”
Sources: Daily Mail, Chicago Tribune, Deadspin, Anneka Svenska/Twitter / Photo credit: Travelbag LTD/Flickr, Anneka Svenska/Twitter, University Athletic Association, Inc./Wikimedia Commons, Beth Lamb/Twitter