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Ricky Gervais Calls Killing of Cecil the Lion “Mental” — Plus, More Stars Speak Out

Ricky Gervais and Cecil the lion
Ricky Gervais, Olivia Wilde and more celebs blast dentist who killed Cecil the Lion

Ricky Gervais and the rest of the Internet are furious with Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who is reportedly responsible for killing Cecil the Lion earlier this month.

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According to the UK’s Telegraph, Palmer has been identified by two sources and is being accused of having lured the famed lion out of a Zimbabwe national park on July 6, shooting him with a crossbow, and then tracking him for 40 hours before ultimately killing, beheading, and skinning the animal. CNN reports that Palmer paid $55,000 to hunt the 13-year-old lion, who was part of an Oxford University research project and wore a GPS collar. 

“It's not for food. It's not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental,” Gervais tweeted of the news, along with a link to the Telegraph’s article. 

Debra Messing also weighed in on the report, calling the alleged killer “shameful” and retweeting Gervais’ tweet. 

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The rest of the Internet has resorted to bashing the dentist on Yelp, among other sites. "Do you want a sick SOB like this in your mouth?" one person wrote on Palmer’s Yelp account, while another added: “He is American Psycho incarnate. I hope the shadows come and pull him down into hell Ghost style."

On Tuesday, July 28, Palmer addressed the killing via a statement, in which he claims to have not been aware that the animal was a “known, local favorite.” 

"In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted,” he told Minneapolis’ KARE11. “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

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Following his statement, Olivia Wilde tweeted: “Ohh the dentist ‘had no idea’ the lion was famous. Because had he known, he would never have murdered it without asking for a selfie first.”

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