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Gorillas, orangutans, and sometimes chimpanzees: about the same size and shape as humans (normally), but tougher, hairier and meaner (maybe). Don't incite them to gorilla warfare, because the things they throw tend to hurt. They may also be Xenophobic Herbivores who like to squeeze people or other animals to death. Or pick them up and bash them to the ground. Sometimes they will even try to eat people, despite real gorillas being primarily herbivorous. They'll also often be shown towering over humans, something real-life apes would have a hard time doing (Average gorilla heights range anywhere between 4’7 to 5’11, but many can grow up to 6 feet or more, with the tallest recorded one being about 6’5).

In a nutshell, this trope is when gorillas and other great apes (excluding humans) are, contrary to their real usual behaviour, treated as belligerent, pugnacious creatures. It's pretty much been a Discredited Trope for gorillas (and orangutans) since at least The '90s. The sign that it was pretty much done for was when Disney's adaptation of Tarzan changed the fictional Mangani of the original novels to gorillas to reflect how science has marched on. However, it still pops up in media from time to time, often with a Lampshade Hanging that the violent behavior is not normal for gorillas, or as a Subverted Trope where a gorilla first appears vicious, but then is revealed to be a Gentle Giant. When they pull this trope in such situation however, that overlaps with Beware the Nice Ones. Chimpanzees, meanwhile, are still subject to Maniac Monkeys, as they can be more dangerous than they appear— though since they tend to be smaller than gorillas, they're more likely to be portrayed as an Evil Genius than a Dumb Muscle.

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This trope was especially common in the Poverty Row B movies of the 1940s - a cheap gorilla suit was the best monster a lot of these studios could afford, and a few prominent stuntmen (who brought their own gorilla suits from home) made entire careers out of roles like this - guys like Ray "Crash" Corrigan, George Barrows, and Steve Calvert. In the movies, the ape would typically be kept, Bertha in the Attic-style, in a cage in the basement laboratory of a Mad Scientist's Old, Dark House. They would probably also develop a sexual interest in human women (which, ludicrously enough, was in line with a lot of the science of the day).

A subtrope of Maniac Monkeys. Often overlaps with King Kong Copy, and may also be a form of Dire Beast. For other unlikable non-human primates, see Killer Space Monkey and Cymbal-Banging Monkey. Related to Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti, another large, hairy and often dangerous hominid, and Frazetta Man, where primitive humans are portrayed as savage brutes with an ape-like appearance. See also Cruel Elephant, Rhino Rampage, Brutish Bulls, Angry, Angry Hippos, Hellish Horse and Prickly Porcupine for the similarly malevolent portrayals of herbivorous animals.

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For the Good Counterpart to this trope, see Everything's Better with Monkeys.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • This World War I propaganda poster depicts Imperial Germany as a savage gorilla wielding a club and carrying off a woman.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Gorillamon from Digimon Adventure 02 and Digimon Tamers. It's a gorilla, with an Arm Cannon.
  • Wyald, a Psycho for Hire hedonist and adrenaline junkie from Berserk closely resembles an ape even in his human form. He then reveals that his Apostle form is a colossal, three eyed gorilla with a tiny head, and an extra mouth (with a massive spiky penis for a tongue) on his chest. The Band of the Hawk know him as a "monkey monster" for good reason.
  • Oozaru aka The Great Ape Transformation from Dragon Ball, turns Saiyans and half-Saiyans into massive Baboon/Gorilla like ape creatures at the full moon. The Saiyans used this transformation to effortlessly conquer a new planet from the Tuffles. The downside is the form is impossible to control for young Saiyans. (Gohan was the sole exception in the non-canon Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might.) Adult Saiyans can control the form and used to wipe out populations under Frieza's orders (which led to him fearing the Saiyan's power and committing near genocide on them). The after the battle with Vegeta, Great Apes have were never seen again in Dragon Ball Z or Dragon Ball Super, but Dragon Ball GT did bring them back having Goku, Vegeta and Baby transform into a Golden Super Saiyan Great Ape.
  • The Beast Titan, from Attack on Titan. At 17 meters tall, it towers over regular Titans and its Creepily Long Arms give it not only reach but complement its Improbable Aiming Skills. It doesn't help that it is also exceptionally cruel, with a brilliant mind and possibly the ability to transform human victims into Titans it commands. It is very bad news, and causes a battle-hardened veteran to have a Freak Out just by speaking to him.
  • Shoukaku from Gintama. Yeah, he is in fact an alien gorilla who is the 4th captain of Harusame and defies Katsura in a combat.
  • One Piece, Oda really loves this trope and puts badass gorillas all over the place.
    • Scarlet The Brute (literally) from One Piece Film: Strong World is a giant pink suit wearing perverted gorilla that pisses Sanji off when he captures Robin and proclaims he's love for her on a tower. It's a big Shout-Out to King Kong.
    • Blackback the gorilla Mink from Zou is subversion though he seem like one when he first appeared, he is actually a big softie who loves bananas.
  • The Iron Kong from Zoids is modeled after the gorilla.
  • Both Invoked and Subverted in Tiger Mask: when presenting Tiger's Cave wrestler Gorilla Man, Mr. X describes the gorillas that originally raised him as this trope, but later the Combat Commentator points out they're actually nice and gentle unless provoked, contrasting them to the (apparently) ferocious Gorilla Man. Everyone still agrees that provoking a gorilla (or Gorilla Man) is suicidal.
  • Forever from Jojos Bizarre Adventure is an orangutan who gained human-level intelligence after acquiring a Stand (in the form of a mind-controlled ship) and became a sea captain. He manages to give Jotaro quite a bit of trouble in the Stardust Crusaders arc.
  • Kemono Friends: Western Lowland Gorilla is the leader of the Friends living in a jungle, appearing to be rough and scaring her followers into submission. However, she turns out to be a subversion. In reality, she is a pacifist who only intimidates her opponents, and acting tough in front of her followers causes her stress.

    Arts 
  • 19th Century sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet created two statues, one in 1859 and one in 1887, depicting a vicious-looking gorilla carrying a woman. On the first one, the woman is fully clothed and appears unconscious or dead; on the second, award-winning one, she's naked and visibly struggling, implying that the gorilla is about to rape her. The statues were a major inspiration for King Kong (1933).

    Comic Books 
  • In the Tintin volume The Black Island, the villains keep a gorilla named Ranko to attack anyone who trespasses on the island of the title. Subverted, however, in that Ranko is mostly dangerous because it is abused by the villains, and in fact Tintin befriends it by helping it after it is injured.
  • DC Comics:
    • Gorilla Grodd (pictured above) is an Evil Genius gorilla with telepathic powers who hates humanity and wants to Take Over the World.
    • Monsieur Mallah is an intelligent gun-toting communist gay French gorilla who works for the Brain in a Jar supervillain named "The Brain".
    • The Ultra-Humanite may also count, as he's most commonly seen in the body of a great white ape.
    • Obscure Batman villain Gorilla Boss might also count as like Ultra-Humanite, while he started as a human, his brain's in the body of a gorilla.
    • Depending on the Writer, DC comics may make the point that normal gorillas are Gentle Giants, and that even most of Grodd's fellow Gorilla City denizens follow suit - Solovar, for example, is usually the rightful king of Gorilla City, and is pretty consistently portrayed as a good guy. And then there are stories where the Flash says that every so often he's reminded that Grodd is a wild animal...
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Vol 1: Villain Giganta was a very large and unusually strong gorilla that was going to be put down after she escaped the zoo and threatened many lives. She was instead bartered for by Dr. Zool for use in an experiment that turned her into a large woman, who was even more murderous than she had been as a gorilla.
      • In Volume 2 Giganta was the scientist Dr. Doris Zeul, whose mind was transferred into a gorilla kept for experimentation out of desperation when she was dying from an incurable illness. She later transferred her mind into a meta-human with size shifting abilities.
    • Superman baddie Titano is depicted as a gorilla, though this is Depending on the Writer as he's also been a chimpanzee. Regardless of his species, his backstory is usually that he's a lab animal that grew to gigantic size and gained kryptonite Eye Beams following a freak lab accident. In his episode of Superman: The Animated Series, however, he's depicted as a sympathetic Non-Malicious Monster, and a childhood friend of Lois.
  • The second arc of The Incredibles comic series starts with an attack on the mall by the Ungorilla, a Captain Ersatz of Grodd.
  • Don Martin drew a comic around the self-created holiday National Gorilla Suit Day (that's January 31st.) In it, recurring character Fester Bestertester is visited by several wearers of gorilla suits, many of them being actual killer gorillas who creatively mangle him several times.
  • A comic book miniseries prequel to The Dresden Files called Welcome to the Jungle plays with this, in that a silverback gorilla name Moe is a suspect for a number of murders at the Lincoln Park Zoo, but he is actually very gentle and protective with his handlers. What he does to a hag who is threatening one of his friends is very messy, though.
  • Hellboy gives us the Kriegaffes, cyborg gorilla henchmen of the Nazi Mad Scientist head in a jar Hermann von Klempt. One story has Hellboy initially hesitant to use violence against something he perceives to be just an animal, until he hears it talk, realizes it's an Uplifted Animal - and therefore, a willing accomplice to the Nazis. He kills it without any further hesitation, though he later wonders if he might have misheard it and misinterpreted events.
  • One of the main characters in Cavewoman is Klyde, a gigantic, violent gorilla.
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: After a mind-transfer goes wrong, Judge Anderson and Vernan D'Arque both end up trapped in the subconsciousness of an intelligent gorilla. D'Arque uses the gorilla's body to go on a killing spree to recover his fortune.
  • In Rawhide Kid #39, Rawhide battles the Ape: a trained gorilla under the control of Mad Scientist Dr. Karlbad.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Hitman Miami: The last chapter has the protagonist up against genetically engineered, gun-toting, yet still bestial, gorilla assassins.
  • The Bridge:
    • Enjin is an Animalistic Abomination kaiju whose full form resembles an amalgamation of different primates, with the body portion resembling a gorilla's. Other parts include tamarin claws and a mandrill-like face.
    • Subverted with King Kong, an evolved kaiju sized descendent of Ardipithecus. While brutal in combat against rivals and the skullcrawlers, he's a Gentle Giant unless provoked and specifically protects the Iwi islands. He becomes the Mentor Archetype to a young Godzilla Junior.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live Action 
  • King Kong, no ordinary gorilla but a member of a giant prehistoric species. The natives present human sacrifices to him, he wrestles giant reptiles, and rampages through a city, killing numerous people. He pretty much codified this trope for modern media and spawned numerous expies.
  • The Star Wars universe:
    • Wookiees, despite being an alien species, look and act this part (albeit as a mostly heroic proud warrior race, rather than villains). As Han says, they're known to rip people's arms out of their sockets.
    • In the Expanded Universe book The Wildlife of Star Wars, there's the Veermoks, large predatory apes that stalk the swamps of Naboo.
  • In the original Planet of the Apes and sequels gorillas are the soldier class, and are the only meat-eaters. Science Marches On, though, and it's now known that gorillas generally don't eat meat, but chimpanzees do. Which makes the scenes where Zira frowns at the gorillas, calling them "meat-eaters", quite ironic. It's also mentioned (most explicitly in Escape from the Planet of the Apes) that calling apes "monkeys" is considered a very severe insult.
    • Both Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes have General Ripper type villains who happen to be gorillas - respectively, General Ursus and General Aldo. Ursus is shown to be a warmongering demagogue Blood Knight whose values are largely embraced by the society around him, while Aldo is a treasonous Dirty Coward who Would Hurt a Child and explicitly violates his society's most sacred law.
    • Escape from the Planet of the Apes also has the intelligent, future chimpanzees in a run-in with a modern-day, unintelligent gorilla, which is depicted as a violent brute that kills Dr. Milo. Throughout the movie, Dr. Zira goes to great lengths to make clear that the apocalyptic war in Beneath was the doing of gorillas, not chimpanzees like herself.
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes zigzags this. On one hand, Buck, Caesar's friend and main gorilla of the film, kills more people on-screen than any other ape by virtue of being big, strong and not particularly keen on restraint. On the other hand, the greatest contribution of the gorillas to the collective effort of the apes was to move a bus, which a large group of chimpanzees later use as cover to attack.
    • Pretty much averted in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as far as gorillas go. In combat situations, the movie focuses more on the gorillas taking wounded apes out of the line of fire or assisting the other apes in hunts, not by killing preys, but by carrying weapons for the actual meat-eaters to use.
  • Mighty Joe Young:
    • In the 1949 original, the eponymous giant gorilla is fed liquor and goes on a drunken rampage, turning lions loose and causing tremendous damage. Overall, though, Joe is treated a lot more sympathetically than most of these examples; the movie was made largely for people who were sad when King Kong died, and lets its own big ape live happily ever after at a ranch in Africa.
    • The rampage also happens in the remake, albeit with him getting angry and\or scared instead of drunk. Like the original, this one mostly treats Joe as kindhearted Gentle Giant, stressing that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • The film Congo has a pack of hyper-territorial albino gorillas guarding the lost city of Zinj. The film goes out of its way to mention that gorillas aren't normally aggressive, and that the hostile ones in the film had been specifically bred for violence - a sort of Cannibal Clan of gorillas. Also, they're smarter than normal gorillas, capable of using tools, tactics, and teaching the same behavior to their offspring. This is in contrast to Amy, a kind and intelligent gorilla who knows sign language, and is a key member of the main cast. Toward the end of the film, Amy encounters a troupe of regular gorillas, whom - though they're a little threatening at first - she ultimately decides to join, saying goodbye to her human friends.
  • The Three Stooges were often terrorized by, and sometimes befriended by, a gorilla.
  • Dario Argento's Phenomena climaxes with a razor-wielding chimpanzee on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. She's actually heroic, though, and saves the heroine from the film's real villain.
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie has a gorilla who goes on a rampage and trashes the studio after his sexual impotence is mentioned. The gorilla is named "Dino" and played by simian impersonator Rick Baker, who also played the title part in Dino de Laurentiis' 1976 remake of King Kong.
  • In Pootie Tang, a gorilla kills Pootie's dad. Apparently, it's a common form of working hazard in the factory he worked.
  • After attacking its cruel circus trainer and escaping, a gorilla in The Ape is killed by the local scientist, who takes its fur to disguise his forced gathering of spinal fluids as gorilla attacks.
  • Hollow Man has an invisible and somewhat vicious gorilla at the beginning. (which could count as Foreshadowing: if a gorilla was altered, how would a human perform?
  • House of Mystery features a cast of characters staying in mansion whose owner is targeted by a Hindu curse that takes the form of a murderous orangutan.
  • Towards the end of Road to Zanzibar, Bob Hope's character gets tossed in a cage with a wrestling gorilla.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the man whose hand is shown turning the pages of the book telling about the search for the Grail gets grabbed suddenly at one point by a gorilla, who proceeds to take over the page-turning role.
  • In Pixels, the final boss is the Donkey Kong, who has his entry in Video Games section.
  • While King Louie in the 1967 adaptation of The Jungle Book was a goofy, scat-singing orangutan who mostly averted this trope, the 2016 live-action remake changes him to a very large and violent Gigantopithecus whose mannerisms evoke a Mafia don with a dash of Colonel Kurtz. For extra scare value, he's voiced by Christopher Walken.
  • In Pacific Rim, one of the Kaiju, Leatherback, resembles a gigantic, hairless gorilla, with a bulky body, long arms, large fists and walking on his knuckles.
  • In Snow White and the Huntsman, the troll walks on its knuckles and has the general body proportions of a gorilla. The goblins in the sequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War, are even more ape-like: not only they essentially look like large black apes with goat horns, they also swing on trees and generally move like apes.
  • Played with in Black Panther. The Jabari's totem animal is a gorilla and come off as a tribe of brutish warriors, their leader M'baku being the most aggressive of them all. Turns out M'baku's an honorable and reasonable leader despite political differences. He even pokes fun at this trope by threatening to eat people, only to reveal he's a vegetarian.
  • In The Monster Maker, Dr. Markoff keeps a murderous gorilla in a cage in his lab. He eventually uses it in an attempt to dispose of his lab assistant Maxine.
  • In Black Zoo, Conrad uses the gorilla from his zoo to murder Jenny Brooks.
  • Circus of Horrors: While fleeing from Rossiter, Martin releases a gorilla from its cage that subsequently chases and attacks Rossiter.
  • Gorilla Interrupted: Ray turns into a gorilla when he's angry, so whenever he's angry, his gorilla-self beats up anyone nearby and trashes the place.
  • The Bride And The Beast, a '50s B-Movie, has a Great White Hunter with a gorilla caged in his basement. It breaks out and attempts to get with his wife, who was apparently a gorilla in a previous life. Gorillas are discussed throughout the movie as if they're the deadliest predators of the jungle, and in the movie's climax, gorillas are shown in their natural African habitat: a cave (actually the Bronson Caves in Los Angeles).
  • Teenage Zombies, another '50s B-Movie, has a Mad Scientist trying to turn people into Technically Living Zombies. She already has a zombified gorilla under her control as her main henchman. It is, of course, caged in the basement.
  • The Bowery Boys' comedy-horror Spook Busters has a Mad Scientist trying to transplant a human brain into a gorilla's body. It, too, is kept in a cage in the basement.
  • Shazam: Out of the seven demons resembling the Seven Deadly Sins, Wrath has a distinctly gorilla-like body, with long arms he uses for knuckle-walking and Ground Punch.
  • Zigzagged in Rampage (2018) with George, an unusually large and intelligent albino gorilla. In his natural state at the beginning of the movie, he's a friendly, mischievous fellow with a mastery of sign language and a strong bond with his animal handler. Once he gets a dose of the mutagen, he gets bigger, hungrier, and angrier, and starts acting more like this trope. He does eventually manage to shake off the behavioural effects of the mutagen, and heroically fights the other monsters in the movie's climax.
  • Ingagi was a mockumentary Exploitation Film from 1930 about vicious gorillas taking African woman (actually white women in blackface) as sex slaves. The general consensus is that it's pretty awful and incredibly racist, although it was enormously popular at the time.
    • The not-quite-sequel Son Of Ingagi, from 1940, featured an ape-like monster named N'Gina, who is kept in a cage in the basement of a female Mad Scientist and said to be a "missing link". This movie had no blackface, and was, in fact, the first monster movie ever made with an all-black cast, so that's cool.
  • Gorilla At Large is a movie about a circus gorilla that escapes and kidnaps Anne Bancroft.
  • The 1939 Ritz Brothers comedy The Gorilla has an escaped gorilla causing havoc during the reign of terror of a notorious criminal who, coincidentally, is also dubbed "The Gorilla".
  • Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla plays its gorilla this way.
  • The 1967 comedy Hillbillies in a Haunted House has a gorilla caged in the house's basement.
  • In Captive Wild Woman, a Mad Scientist played by John Carradine steals a female circus gorilla and, Doctor Moreau-style, turns her into a beautiful lady - but she's still driven to kill, as all gorillas are.

    Literature 
  • In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Edgar Allan Poe's first tale of Detective Dupin, the murderer is an escaped orangutan. The Universal film adaptation changed it into a gorilla, both because of this trope and because it's really hard to squeeze an actor into a convincing orangutan suit.
  • The Librarian of the Unseen University from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels is an orangutan, prone to violently correcting anyone who calls him a monkey.
  • Animorphs Played with but mostly averted. Marco goes on quite a few rampages in gorilla morph, but it's the bad guys he's usually throwing around. Unlike many of their combat morphs, though, he never mentions the gorilla's instincts as being particularly violent (as opposed to many predators, like big cats or even eagles, that they sometimes have trouble controlling). Indeed, Marco actually comments at least once that he's fully aware that real gorillas actually aren't usually violent - but Marco still uses it as his combat morph, because they're nevertheless strong. On the other hand, Marco is one of the most ruthless members of the team, so in that regard its played straight.
  • Tarzan of the Apes and the other Tarzan books have the Mangani (Frazetta Man - like humanoid apes) and the Bolgani (actual gorillas). The two species are mortal enemies, and both of them are portrayed as pretty violent.
  • A gorilla takes a brutal, if entirely justified revenge, on one of the villains at the climax of the Solomon Kane story Red Shadows.
  • Conan the Barbarian takes on an intelligent ape-like creature that has usurped its master in the short story Rogues in the House.
  • Kovo The Ape in Spirit Animals was one of the two Great Beasts to turn evil and help the villain. Being locked up in the middle of a scorching desert for several millennia as punishment has not inspired him to change his ways.
  • In Desert And Wilderness has one attack the protagonists, quite randomly.
  • The H. P. Lovecraft short story "Facts Concerning The Late Arthur Jermyn" mentions that one of Jermyn's ancestors, a circus performer whose act consisted of a mock boxing match against a gorilla, was brutally killed by it after he had a breakdown and assaulted it after it accidentally punched him too hard during practice. Said story also has a twist ending based on Frazetta Man and a very grim take on Darwin, where the Jermyn family are revealed to be descended from a Great White Hunter who married a white ape.
  • Parodied in the P. G. Wodehouse story "Monkey Business": the Hollywood-based protagonist ends up face-to-face with a baby-stealing gorilla.. only to learn that it's actually a human in a costume who is embarrassed to explain he got a little too into his role.
  • In the children's book Killer Gorilla (also published as Gorilla! Gorilla!) by English writer Jeanne Willis, a mother mouse loses her baby in the African jungle, and encounters a gigantic gorilla. The mouse runs all around the world, believing that the ape wants to kill and eat her - but as the gorilla finally catches up with her, he reveals that he was only chasing her because he wanted to return her baby.
  • In Bulldog Drummond, the villains' Booby Trap-filled lair also has a savage gorilla that is let loose at night to discourage anyone from wandering in or out without permission. The hero escapes death at its hands, but is told of another man who was less adept and was found with his throat torn out.
  • In The Impossible Virgin, a Modesty Blaise novel, the villain has a gorilla in a cage at his compound in Africa. He keeps it around mainly to make a point about how he, small and physically unimposing as he is, has more power than the hulking beast, but there are also times when people get locked in the cage to be torn to shreds.
  • Quest for Fire, a novel written and published not long after the Mountain gorilla was discovered by science, is one of the earliest subversions of this trope long before Diane Fossey's work. The gorilla-like "Blue-haired men" initially appear agressive and inspire fear from the humans who encounter them but they turn out to be peaceful foragers who just want to be left alone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bruno from Misfits.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny confesses that she had a topless scene in a B-movie about a killer gorilla called "Serial Apist". In a later episode, she is offered a part in its sequel, Serial Apist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill, in which she herself turns into a killer gorilla.
  • The Electric Company (1971): Several gags involving Paul the Gorilla, although he is completely harmless. Most notably is a skit about f-words (no, not THAT word) where Melanie Henderson blindfolds Luis Avalos, brings in Paul and has him feel fingers, feet, fur and a face before he takes off his blindfold, sees Paul staring him in the face, and then he feels funny and faints. Paul looks at Avalos then stares into the camera.
  • The Gong Show: A recurring gag saw a giant gorilla hand often grab a hilariously bad act – often a stunningly beautiful girl – and yank her offstage, with host Chuck Barris implying the worst. These were non-scoring acts done for comedy relief.
  • The above mentioned Grodd appears in The Flash (2014), where he's the victim of sadistic Animal Testing from the military prior to his intelligence being enhanced, leaving him to think none too highly of humans. In season 2, he's sent to Gorilla City Earth 2, figuring he'd be happier among his own kind. It turns out not to be the case, as there's Always Someone Better. In season 3, it's revealed that Grodd feels chafed under Gorilla City's ruler Solovar, who is stronger than him. While Barry does end up battling Solovar, he spares his life, and Solovar later stops the gorilla invasion of Central City in return.
  • The 100 features the extra-large, probably mutated, post-apocalyptic descendant of a zoo's gorilla habitat, with a habit of letting out monstrous roars before it rips people's limbs off with its bare hands.
  • Dusty's Trail: In "Love Means Not Having to Say You're Bananas", a gorilla that has escaped from a traveling circus invades the camp and captures Betsy. Dusty, Andy, and Mr. Callahan try to think of some way to get her out of the cave the gorilla has put her in.
  • Wonder Woman: In "Wonder Woman vs Gargantua", the Nazis train a gorilla named Gargantua to kill Wonder Woman. However, Wonder Woman understands that Gargantua himself is innocent and works to befriend him and help him overcome his training, rather than just killing him.

    Magazine 

    Music 
  • Lee Scratch Perry's albums Super Ape and Return Of The Super Ape use a gigantic killer gorilla on their album covers.
  • In the music video for "Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz, a bunch of zombie gorillas show up in a graveyard that the band members need to fight.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Pinball 
  • The backglass for Atari's Middle Earth pinball shows a giant hairy ape holding a human in one clawed hand while fighting against a giant horned Kaiju.
  • Naturally, these are featured all over the place in Congo

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Various kinds of monstrous, malevolent apes have turned up in various editions and settings for Dungeons & Dragons and assorted spin-offs, such as Pathfinder. In fact, the last module Gary Gygax created for 1st edition before leaving TSR was Isle of the Ape, which was basically a riff on King Kong.
    • Girallons appear in several editions, resembling large, white gorillas with four arms (as a likely Shout-Out to the White Apes of Mars listed above). Tomb of Annihilation gave us an undead variant.
    • Blood Apes are red-furred 6-foot tall gorillas that behave like regular animals... except the part where they can increase their size (which not only gives them more hit points, they also do more damage) to fend off threats. And unlike gorillas, they go straight for the kill instead of making threat displays, giving them an undeserved reputation as murderous carnivores.
    • The Barlgura is a demon appearing in every edition of D&D. It's a large but stocky, hairy monster with long arms and short legs, resembling a monstrous orangutan. Like all demons, it is chaotic evil, and possesses a handful of magical powers such as seeing through invisibility and turn invisible itself.
    • Another type of demon, the Nalfeshnee, resembles a cross between a gorilla and a boar, with filthy vulture wings on its back. They're antisocial, even by demon standards, and in some versions of the game are made from the souls of especially greedy and self-interested mortals.
  • Most of the above monsters also appear in Pathfinder, which also adds a few of its own. The city of Usaro, deep in the Mwangi Expanse, is devoted to this trope - and a bit of Maniac Monkeys, as its rank-and-file warriors are mostly the mandrill-like charau-ka. The city is ruled by The Gorilla King - a formerly human warlord turned into an intelligent dire ape to better serve Angazhan, the Demon Lord of Apes. Usaro is also populated by angazhani, or "high girallons" - intelligent and evil versions of the above girallons.
  • In the obscure D20 setting Weird Wars II, the bestiary (Horrors of Weird War II) includes three kinds of ape-man monster; apes given near-human intelligence and trained as Nazi soldiers, apes with Nazi soldier brains transplanted inside of them, and humans mentally devolved into quasi-ape monsters.
  • Although Venusians are an intelligent, cooperative and developed people in Rocket Age this doesn't change the fact that they are two and a half meter tall war-like ape men.

    Theatre 
  • In Eugene O'Neill's play The Hairy Ape, the protagonist goes to the Zoo to talk to a gorilla and releases it from its cage, whereupon it crushes him to death.

    Video Games 
  • Donkey Kong in the original Donkey Kong was a woman-kidnapping, barrel-tossing antagonist. In most later games, however, Donkey Kong (actually the son of the original 1981 DK) is more fun-loving than threatening... until someone steals his bananas.
    • This also applies to Bongo from the Sega's Congo Bongo, which was essentially their answer to the original Donkey Kong.
    • Micro Power put out a similiarly blatant Donkey Kong clone with the simple title Killer Gorilla.
  • Gryphon Knight Epic: Simiel Totec, one of the bosses of the game, rides a gorilla named Gronko.
  • Rampage: The legendary video game series stars three mutated monsters, including George – a King Kong-like gorilla. George (along with his "friends") could eat people to earn bonus points and maintain/gain energy.
  • One of the bosses Venture Kid is a giant long-armed gorilla.
  • Crazy Climber: The 1980 video game, which cashed in on the media fad where stuntmen attempted to climb the side of tall skyscrapers, featured a King Kong-type gorilla (on buildings 1 and 3) whose punch was deadly. He returns in Crazy Climber 2 to throw bricks.
  • Golden Sun has gorillas as part of the Random Encounters. Infamously, The Lost Age's first boss is a trio of gorillas named "Chestbeaters" that attack you because they happened to be at the end of the dungeon.
  • Heavy Weapon has the boss Kommie Kong (renamed Gorillazilla in the PS3/Xbox360 release), which is a giant communist mecha gorilla that throws exploding rockets and tries to stomp the player.
  • In World of Warcraft, most gorilla mobs are are aggressive and will attack on sight. In a typical Blizzard manner, there are lots of Shout Outs: a giant gorilla living on an island and holding a woman captive, a (robotic) gorilla called A-ME trained to communicate with humans and gorilla mobs dropping barrels of death.
  • In Tomb Raider, the Grecian ruins are populated by lions, crocodiles, bats, and aggressive gorillas.
  • There is one hairy white gorilla in the Trophy Room in Brain Dead 13. And surprisingly, it has the same atomic wedgie kill scene as Moose!
  • Borderlands 2 has a four-armed variation known as bullymongs. Like many of Pandora's wildlife, they are hostile to everyone.
  • The Half-Life mod Heart of Evil has a lot of them.
  • The Lion King has one at the end of the "Hakuna Matata" level. Subverted in that he's not actively attacking Simba, only throwing coconuts at him, because apparently he wants to be left alone. It doesn't stop him from being widely considered That One Boss.
  • Mechapon, a giant mechanical gorilla, appears as one of the Stage 2 mid-bosses in Strider (Arcade), and returns as a proper boss in the 2014 HD version.
  • Monster Hunter has a number of ape- and monkey-like Monsters, classified as Primate Fanged Beasts:
    • Rajang is a highly aggressive ape-like monster with powerful electric attacks that's one of the most feared monsters in the series, being The Dreaded both In-Universe and by players. It has a six star danger rating, something that's usually reserved for Elder Dragons(indeed, Monster Hunter: World shows Rajang ties in Turf Wars against most Elder Dragons). Frontier even reveals that Kirin horns are one of its favorite foods.
    • Congalala is this to a lesser extent, being a horn-headed, fat, hippo-faced ape that annoys players with its reliance on deadly flatulence-based attacks.
    • Kecha Wacha is an early-game monster that resembles a giant monkey, with gliding membranes like a flying squirrel, an elephant-like trunk that shoots water bombs, and enormous ears it can fold over its face to block Flash Bombs. It's also a fairly agile climber.
  • One of the roaming monsters in The Ultimate Haunted House is one of these, a tormented pet gorilla kept in a cage in the Menagerie.
  • Saiyuki: Journey West has one of these as Son Goku's Super Mode.
  • Zigzagged with Winston of Overwatch. Normally he's a friendly and cute talking gorilla who's interested in engineering. But when he uses his Ultimate, he loses his calm demeanor and goes on a roaring rampage (combined in-game with increased health and mobility.)
    • Played straight with the rest of the enhanced gorillas from Winston's lunar colony. They violently took over the colony and killed the human researchers who were working there, partially out of jealousy towards Winston for being smarter than them.
  • The General enemy and it's variants in Miitopia are giant gorillas that have nastily powerful fists.
  • The Steel Mechorilla, fought at the top of Snowcap Mountain in Mother 3, is a powerful mechanical chimera whose hands have been replaced with wrecking balls. You might think it a good idea to strike it with PK Thunder, since it's weak to electric attacks. Think again.
    • Additionally, there are biological chimarae in the form of the Batangutan (an orangutan head with bat wings) and the Monkalrus (a walrus head on an orangutan's body). It's suggested that the same orangutans were used to create both creatures.
  • Gorilla-type enemies are a Recurring Element in the Xenoblade series, in the form of Gogols in the first and second mainline games, and Simius in Xenoblade Chronicles X It's also something of a Running Gag that a gigantic, ludicrously high-levelled unique Bonus Boss of this type (with a name that translates to 'Redbeard'; 'Territorial Rotbart' of XC1 and 2, and 'Hayreddin, the Territorial' of X) patrols an early area of each game.
  • Koala Kong from Crash Bandicoot is a muscular, gorilla-like koala who's known to have a vicious temper and fights Crash inside of an active volcano by throwing boulders at him. Rilla Roo from Crash Bash looks the part, but mainly serves as an Evil Counterpart for Dingodile (who along with Tiny Tiger was subjected to Heel–Face Turn for this particular game only). There's also the Scorporilla from Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind Over Mutant, a massive gorilla-scorpion hybrid and one of the strongest Titans in the game.
  • T-virus infected zombie gorillas were a planned monster for Resident Evil 2, and had been successfully modeled and programmed by the "1.5" edition, but they were cut from the released game.
    • The concept would be revived in Resident Evil 0; originally, a giant killer monkey named "Wesker's Monster" was planned as a boss monster, but it was scrapped. Instead, the game featured the Eliminators; Progenitor-infected laboratory chimpanzees whose small stature, quick movement rate, leaping & grappling abilities, and surprising durability would see them become one of the more infamous members of the series' Demonic Spiders.
  • Ape Out: You play as a gorilla which breaks out of a cage and smashes gun-toting humans into piles of giblets. In this preview by Rock Paper Shotgun, they describe it as the most violent game of 2019 (but it was only February).
  • Scrap Garden: One of the bosses Canny faces is a giant gorilla.
  • Ape Escape, Pumped and Primed has Pipotron G, a white-furred mutant who serves as the most physically intimidating member of the New Pipotrons working for Nazo.
  • Injustice 2: Gorilla Grodd, obviously. When we first meet him, he's established himself as the leader of the Society, to take over the world after the fall of the Regime. On a team including Cheetah, Poison Ivy, and The Scarecrow, he comes across as the most depraved of them, to the point that he betrays Earth to ally with Brainiac purely for his own gain. Outside the main story, Grodd is still pretty threatening: he enters the battlefield carrying the skull of his latest victim, which he then crushes, he roars while beating up his opponent and jumping towards the screen in his victory animation, and if his arcade ending is anything to go by, he kills Brainiac, enslaves humanity and goes on a world-conquering spree.
  • Keineged an nor: Pulling a lever to the left in the third room releases a bunch of gorillas to trample you.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • In the Creepypasta Normal Porn for Normal People the last video, "useless.avi", shows a woman getting mauled to death by a chimpanzee.
  • This article by The Onion uses killer gorillas as a thinly-veiled metaphor for guns. Another article uses the violent gorilla metaphor again, but this time for cancer. Averted in this video, though, where a once kind and happy gorilla is taught that one day it will die.
  • The "Ride Wife, Life Good" meme features a Hulk Speak-talking gorilla who kills his wife after she refuses to let him ride on her back.

    Western Animation 
  • The villain of the obscure Rankin/Bass Productions special The Ballad of Smokey the Bear is a gorilla who escaped from the zoo and proceeds to make a mess of the forest for no apparent reason.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Mickey Mouse was antagonized by a gorilla named Beppo in several shorts. In The Gorilla Mystery (1930) and The Pet Store (1933), Beppo kidnaps Minnie, whom Mickey rescues; in Mickey's Mechanical Man, the gorilla, dubbed "The Kongo Killer", gets into a boxing match with the titular robot.
    • Averted with the gorilla in Pluto at the Zoo (1942). Although it looks scary and Pluto faints at its sight, it's just a curious Manchild who plays with Pluto as if he was a toy.
    • In Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944), Ajax, the titular antagonist, is an extremely violent gorilla escaped from a zoo who chases Donald and his nephews through the house before being subdued with a tear gas grenade.
    • In Duck Pimples (1945), as Donald Duck listens to the radio, one of the programs he tunes into is about a killer ape. He briefly imagines his armchair turning into the ape (who looks the same as Ajax from Donald Duck and the Gorilla) and trying to strangle him.
  • Tublat from The Legend of Tarzan is a violent, downright murderous silverback who got exiled from Tarzan's family. While Tublat's comparatively passive personality from the books were used to make Disney's Kerchak a much gentler character, Kerchak's personality from the books were consequently used to make Disney's Tublat more violent.
  • In an episode of Clerks: The Animated Series, Jay announces that they have "decided we need more gorillas in our empty lives", and they free the gorillas from the fair across the road from the QuikStop. The gorillas proceed to attack everyone in sight. ("Oh no! Caitlyn!" "Except Caitlyn Bree and Dan Whiffler who are *** *** in a car!")
  • In The Venture Bros., one of the many supervillain Captain Ersatzes is King Gorilla, a Manly Gay supervillain gorilla who spent some time in prison with the Monarch. He got thrown into prison for murder and rape (yes, in that order). He was later let out of prison since he was dying of lung cancer.
    • There was a "normal" gorilla in the E-Den at the Venture Compound. Dr. Venture apparently had no idea that it was in there, because he led a group of small children into the place as part of a tour of the compound. It mauled one of them to death and Dr. Venture "fixed" it by cloning the kid and giving the clone to his parents when they came to pick him up.
  • The Scooby-Doo franchise features several gorilla-like monsters, including:
  • In Johnny Test, Susan and Mary's oblivious love interest, Gil, is accidentally transformed into a gorilla and causes general mayhem in Porkbelly for awhile before he changes back.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart Gets an F": Bart and Homer watch a killer gorilla movie where the ape eats people at random.
    • "Treehouse of Horror III": The segment "King Homer" is a direct parody of King Kong (1933), where Homer plays the role of a giant gorilla who eats several people, including Mr. Smithers, Lenny and a Shirley Temple-lookalike.
    • "To Cur With Love" reveals that the predecessor to Krusty's chimp Mr. Teeny was a gorilla who would beat up Krusty, causing him to remark, "next time I get a smaller monkey."
    • "Gorillas On the Mast" features a female gorilla named Lolo, who goes on a destructive rampage after being freed from the zoo by Bart and Milhouse. Somewhat subverted in that she only threatens people rather than actually hurting them (other than throwing a Duff bottle at Ned, and even then it was an accident), and it's implied that her rampage may have been due to stress.
  • One really mean gorilla appears during the Gainax Ending of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode I Had an Accident". It's played by a live actor in a gorilla suit. How is there a gorilla underwater? Well, it's lampshaded in the ending with him getting paranoid SpongeBob is "onto him" and running away on a zebra.
    • Another gorilla appears in the last Patchy segment of "Friend or Foe", who is hired at The Poop Deck after Patchy and Potty get fired. It violently throws all the burger toppings at Patchy after being called a "hairy fleabag".
  • Kiki from the Animaniacs episode "Kiki's Kitten" is a violent female gorilla, who only calms down if she gets kitten whom she can play with. Poor Rita gets to be her toy.
  • Looney Tunes
    • Gruesome Gorilla from "Gorilla My Dreams" and "Apes of Wrath" (renamed Elvis in the latter cartoon) is a "ferocious ape" who isn't willing to accept Bugs Bunny as his son, and beats him up.
    • In "The Ducksters", Porky Pig finds out the hard way that Daffy Duck's special guest "Miss Shush" is actually an ill-tempered gorilla named Mamie when he receives an off-screen beating and barely escapes with his life.
    • In "Hurdy-Gurdy Hare", Bugs becomes an Organ Grinder but fires his monkey because it was pocketing some of the change. The monkey goes to a gorilla in the zoo, who breaks out and goes after Bugs. Bugs eventually finds that Music Soothes the Savage Beast and makes the gorilla his new hurdy-gurdy monkey. The gorilla looks identical to Gruesome from "Gorilla My Dreams", with a red tuft of hair on his head.
  • Lord Tirek from the My Little Pony TV Specials and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's Season 4 finale is a centaur with a simian head and torso.
  • One of the Superman Theatrical Cartoons, "Terror on the Midway" is about a giant gorilla accidentally getting released in the circus and going on a rampage. Its tamer was nowhere to be found.
  • Family Guy:
    • A cutaway gag at first subverts, then horribly and hilariously plays it straight when Peter mentions how he once introduced a gorilla to a kitten.
    Lois: Awww look Peter! She's taking care of that kitten like its her own child!
    Peter: Yes, I knew that eventually she'd stop tearing them in half. *the camera pans out to show the gorilla sitting next to a small mountain of dismembered kittens*
    • Another gag shows Stewie rushing out of a building, finding a door saying "Not An Exit". He opens it anyway, and gets pounced and beaten up by a vicious gorilla.
    Stewie: Why did the sign say "Not An Exit"? It should have just said "Gorilla Door"!
  • Despite looking like a gorilla, Rondo Jr. from Yakkity Yak serves as a threat to the titular character.
  • In an episode of Nelvana's Babar animated series, Babar and his friends get shipwrecked on an island and get antagonized by a King Kong-like giant gorilla named "Conga the Terrible". Subverted at the end of the episode - Conga is revealed to be a Gentle Giant who tried to scare Babar and his friends away because he believed they wanted to capture him.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series heavily based on The Island of Doctor Moreau has a mook gorilla-human hybrid made by a villainous Mad Scientist.
  • The Great Grape Ape, a Gentle Giant who Does Not Know His Own Strength, only looks like this, but is actually quite harmless. Nevertheless, a Running Gag that happens at least Once an Episode has people running away from what they believe to be a ferocious "goril-il-il-il-il-il-il-il-la".
  • ''The New Adventures of Superman: "Ape Army of the Amazon". In South America, an exiled military officer named Colonel Vasta and a disgraced scientist named Dr. Rucas control apes, with the transmitter on Dr. Rucas's back, in a plot to rob an underground treasure.
  • An episode of The Wild Thornberrys has Eliza and Darwin trying to sneak a wheel-shaped rock (as a replacement wheel for the comvee when it loses one) from some gorillas in order to avoid invoking this trope. The gorillas turn out to be aversions, being willing to negotiate and give the rock to Eliza if she asks for it, with the troop leader teaching her an example about taking things without permission.
  • Rollo is Boris Badenov's pet gorilla in the Rocky and Bullwinkle story arc "Wailing Whale." He looks for victims for Rollo to play with "because they break so easily." The Either/Or Title of one of the episodes is "Playtime For Rollo, or: Rest In Pieces."
  • Downplayed with Bada and Bing in The Penguins of Madagascar: they are dumb and thuggish, and occasionally act as The Bully for the other animals, but they are part of the zoo gang and are often friendly with the penguins. They're still disproportionally big, roughly the same size as a rhinoceros.
  • In TaleSpin, one of Trader Moe's goons is a gigantic gorilla who is taller than Baloo (the other goon is a rhinoceros).
  • In the We Bare Bears episode "Adopted", the three bear cubs get adopted by an eccentric billionaire, to be the companions of his pet silverback gorilla Carl. Carl's room is littered with torn-apart teddy bears and it's implied he'd do the same with the bear cubs when he gets bored. In the climax of the episode, Carl saves the bears from a big fall and is revealed to be genuinely fond of them.
  • The Cold Open of the Arthur episode "War of the Worms" has Fern narrating a story about an explorer who gets menaced by a giant talking gorilla that tries to eat her for lunch. Brain calls her out on it, pointing out that gorillas are not as big as the one in the story, they don't eat people (they're herbivores), and they don't talk.
  • The Lion Guard episode "Beshte and the Beast" starts with a immensely powerful and gigantic Hulk-like mountain gorilla named Shujaa seemingly being this trope, scaring away some giraffes and zebras from a watering hole. But when the Lion Guard confront him, he quickly reveals that he's actually friendly, he came to help the Lion Guard, and believed that the giraffes and zebras were the enemies. He causes a lot of destruction later on, but it is either accidental or targeted at the villains, prompting Beshte to teach the great ape how to think before he acts.
  • In Primal (2019), the strongest warriors of the ape-man tribe resemble enormous gorillas. The Super Serum that their champion drinks makes him even bigger and more aggressive, turning him into a King Kong-like monster.
  • One episode of Over the Garden Wall has a schoolhouse terrorized by a wild gorilla, who turns out to actually be the teacher's human fiance, who had gotten a job wearing a gorilla suit at the circus and become trapped in the costume.
  • One episode of Fangface ("The Great Ape Escape") had the gang imprisoned in an Underground City of gorilla-men (straddling the line between this trope, Beast Man, and Frazetta Man) inside a mountain on an Island of Mystery. They practiced Human Sacrifice via a number of overly-elaborate death traps and prayed to an "ape idol". A scene in the kitchen of their city's prison, however, implied that they were vegetarians, as the larder was well-stocked with veggies and no apparent meat.

    Real Life 
  • This trope especially comes into play when misguided humans, charmed by how much a baby chimpanzee resembles a human child, try to take one as a pet. The problem comes when this cute little chimp hits puberty and becomes a very aggressive primate strong enough to rip your arm off and beat you to death with it. Or if you're lucky they'll stop at merely ripping your face off.
    • Chimpanzees are among the few animals (along with hippos, swans and the sort) that are much more dangerous than people generally think. Almost every individual chimpanzee has the potential to play this trope straight, and some chimpanzees play it straight a lot of the time.
    • Also, in contrast to gorillas that are almost exclusively vegetarians, chimps also often supplement their fruit-based diet with meat, including monkeys and even infant chimps kidnapped from other troops or their own if food is scarce—or if they're just feeling lazy. There's a reason Jane Goodall locked her baby in a cage when studying them.
    • When chimpanzee troops undergo a leadership change, it's not uncommon for every chimp in it to go berserk in a bid for power.
    • In one famous case, a woman's pet chimp attacked her friend. The woman tried to fight her pet chimp off with a shovel and a knife and it still kept attacking her friend. The friend of that woman is blind and mutilated now. The extent of her injuries were so horrific that her doctors had to undergo therapy.
    • Jane Goodall discovered in the '70s the chimps' "dark side". Goodall was quite shocked and horrified by the brutality of the attacks and describe the whole thing as a "war".
  • Largely Inverted with real life gorillas, who fall into the Gentle Giant category and are Real Life examples of Herbivores Are Friendly. They are usually pretty passive towards humans unless they feel threatened, and even then they will normally try to fend off intruders with bluff attacks rather than actually hurting them. While early reports by hunters painted gorillas as vicious brutes who attack humans with little to no provocation, this public perception was changed largely due to the research of primatologists George Schaller and Dian Fossey. That does NOT mean you should push them too far, though...
    • If you encounter gorillas, the following are really bad ideas to do, as they may interpret them as a challenge to fight: locking eyes with them, showing your teeth (even by smiling), and especially pounding your chest. If you avoid doing these, the gorillas are likely to leave you alone.
    • Male gorillas occasionally commit infanticide, which means that they kill the offspring of rival males they defeat for mating opportunity.
  • There's been some argument among paleontologists if extinct super-ape Gigantopithecus was like this or not. It clearly was omnivorous and bamboo stalks were a major part of its diet (similar to the giant panda). Paleontologists find a lot of animal bones in caves where Gigantopithecus supposedly lived and some of those caves are quite far above ground, meaning the dead animals were brought there by some predator. To complicate matters, we know very little about Gigantopithecus' anatomy — all skeletal remains found are fragmentary; most of the finds are just mandibles (the rest of the skeleton has uses in traditional Chinese medicine). Of course, unless someone stumbles across one on a deserted island, in Asian mountains or in the backwoods of Washington state, it's all rather academic.
    • Studies on tooth enamel do indicate Gigantopithecus was effectively a pure herbivore and unlikely to attack an animal with the intent of eating it. That said, Herbivores Are Friendly is a trope that is very much not true in nature, so how aggressive or dangerous the big ape was is anyone's guess.
  • There have been several incidents in zoos where gorillas behaved violently with visitors:
    • In 2007, at the Rotterdam zoo in the Netherlands, a male gorilla named Bokito escaped his enclosure and attacked a woman, biting her multiple times and dragging her around for tens of meters. The ape was sedated with a tranquilizer gun and returned to the enclosure. The woman was a regular visitor to the zoo who often engaged in eye contact with Bokito and smiled at him, which the gorilla might have misinterpreted as an aggressive display and a challenge to fight.
    • In 2016, a boy fell into the enclosure of Harambe, a 17-year-old male gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, who caught the kid and proceeded to pick him up and drag him around. Not wanting to see whether this trope became Truth in Television or not, zookeepers shot and killed the ape in order to save the boy's life. Much controversy arose by objectors to the act, among them biologists and primatologists, who argued that Harambe was actually trying to protect the boy and/or merely behaving curious about him, or was nervous due to the screaming crowd, as well as animal rights activists who saw the decision as unfairly placing human life above animal life by blind policy alone. The debate about the zookeepers' decision to kill the gorilla is still heated and ongoing, and Harambe himself has since been notably memorialized through ambiguously ironic memes.


 
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