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Milkshake Duck’s founder Ben Ward is at it again. Better known by his Twitter handle Pixelated Boat, Ward went viral this week after parodying Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury on President Donald Trump. But his surreal excerpt about Trump’s fascination with “the gorilla channel” is fooling Twitter users, with many believing Trump is infatuated with a TV channel focused on apes fighting each other.
The satirical excerpt, which was posted Thursday night, depicts Trump as a president infatuated with “the gorilla channel.” In Ward’s joke, Trump thinks his presidential TV is broken because it doesn’t have a channel based entirely on gorillas. So in order to keep the president satisfied, the White House compiles gorilla documentaries into “a makeshift gorilla channel,” broadcast “from a hastily-constructed transmission tower on the South Lawn.”
In Ward’s parody, the Trump administration eventually edits down the documentaries to just gorillas fighting each other, leaving Trump watching the channel “17 hours straight” and speaking to the gorillas as if “the gorillas can hear him.”
Wow, this extract from Wolff’s book is a shocking insight into Trump’s mind: pic.twitter.com/1ZecclggSa— the gorilla channel thing is a joke (@pixelatedboat) January 5, 2018
Ward’s post quickly went viral after Twitter users actually believed Trump was infatuated with gorillas.
Is it a joke? I can’t … I can’t tell. pic.twitter.com/ubJM3oMgW5— Shark Laser (@sharklaser78) January 5, 2018
My friend thought this was 100% real pic.twitter.com/SmMeVgyKgj— JH (@JHolmium) January 5, 2018
This is scarier than shit knowing this human being has the capability to use nuclear weapons. I shuddered and got chills. OMG OMG OMG— Cheri DelBrocco (@cdelbrocco) January 5, 2018
And while many people figured out the excerpt was a joke, it certainly took some a very long time to put the pieces together.
LOL oh damn I actually thought this was true, it seems entirely plausible. https://t.co/95Px1AEJuu— Sonia Gupta (@soniagupta504) January 5, 2018
I didn’t realize until the “17 hours a day” thing because I know he watches more Fox News than that would allow.— Brittany G (@Fibby1123) January 5, 2018
I did not realize it was a joke until I read the comments!! We're so far down the rabbit hole, this seemed completely believable. What's happening to us????— Christy (@cameobraid) January 5, 2018
The number of people who seem to think this is an actual excerpt from the book is both deeply depressing and highly comical— MikamKciredor (@RoderickMakim) January 5, 2018
Oh, and Trump supporters didn’t immediately get the joke. They thought Wolff actually claimed Trump is infatuated with the gorilla channel.
This is a joke, right?— Pro-Lifer For Trump (@MyPresidentme) January 5, 2018
This is such a load of crap! Anyone around with eyes sees he works his ass off harder than ANY other @POTUS has— TLC (@tray24u1) January 5, 2018
Wolff has ZERO credibility.. Look at his track record
This is more smoke & mirrors
Spare us we've got important work to do#MAGA #QAnon https://t.co/Eb5rb4VBUk
Even Ward himself admitted that he’s feeding part of the “fake news” problem with the joke. He later changed his display name to “the gorilla channel thing is a joke” in an attempt to make sure no one actually believes Trump obsessively watches a channel with gorillas fighting each other.
tfw you parody a guy making up shit about Trump but people believe it so you become part of the problem— the gorilla channel thing is a joke (@pixelatedboat) January 5, 2018
While Ward’s parody excerpt may be a joke, the post points to a larger problem surrounding Trump. The president’s actions are so unbelievable at times that any coverage suggesting Trump is a buffoon ends up going viral. While it’s important to criticize the president when he acts in ways that are bigoted and ignorant, that shouldn’t be done without a healthy dose of objective skepticism.
But as Ward suggests, that’s probably hoping for the best. In reality, many people will still believe the gorilla channel is real.
“Wonder if this new display name will help,” Ward tweeted last night. “Probably not.”
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.