The stars have spoken. Shaunie O’Neal is the latest celebrity to weigh in on the gorilla incident that has made the Cincinnati Zoo famous.


“Something was wrong with how the boy was just able to get in there like that,” Shaunie said during a recent interview. “Clearly you [should] have your child latched on at this point at three.”

The celebrity mom further scrutinized the child’s mother by telling media, “I hate to pass judgment because we haven’t seen the closure, but hell I hold onto my kids and they’re clearly all bigger than me.” She went on to say, “I myself might have just jumped into the gorilla pit. You can’t rattle me about much, but my kids is another story. Me and the gorilla going head to head.”

The Cincinnati Zoo became the center of focus after a 3-year-old boy fell into a gorilla enclosure last weekend. Some criticized the zoo for not having more kid-friendly boundaries, but the majority scrutinized the boy’s parents for failing to keep a watchful eye over the toddler. Officials shot the gorilla after the animal dragged the boy through the enclosure, which further infuriated animal activists.

BCK Asks: What are your thoughts on the gorilla incident? Should the child’s parents be held liable? Do you think that an outsider has the right to label someone as a “bad parent” without knowing the details surrounding an incident?

Listen to the 911 call that the Cincinnati mother made after her son fell into the gorilla enclosure here!

Photo: Getty Images



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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Comments 4

  1. bck reader says:

    seems like it was a series of bad things that went wrong that led to this perfect storm. a lady said she heard the child saying he wanted to go in with the gorillas and the mom kept telling him no you’re not. then she happened to be with other kids as well and got momentarily distracted and lost sight of this child. he was somehow able to climb over or under the wall or railing, which i’m not sure how secure it was or if when constructing it they took into account the fact that a child could get through. once he went in, they couldn’t simply tranquilize the gorilla because it might agitate him and make him even more aggressive, and who knows how long it would take before the sedative actually kicked in. I believe the zoo had no other choice in that instance. the real question is how did the child manage to get in so easily? were the safety measures put in place by the zoo not sufficient enough? the other question is how much blame should the mom take for not being able to properly manage her child at the time the incident happened? was it just a momentary, split second thing or was he out of her sight for longer than he should have been considering his age? unless there’s surveillance footage somewhere, we don’t really know. the worst thing in this situation is that an animal lost his life, but the best thing is that this little boy still has his.

  2. Ebony Starr says:

    Shaunie needed some shine. Any parent knows that it only takes a second for something to happen. As for her holding her kids, all of know of her is from the Basketball Wives, and extended vacations with the girls. I rarely saw her interact with her kids. See how easy it can be to judge people on how they are portrayed in the media. She says that she is hands, but that’s not what is put out there on her show. That mother keep a cool head under very difficult circumstances!!! She probably helped to keep the boy calm and alive. No one knows how they will react in any given situation.

  3. Martha says:

    True, true, indeed!

  4. Me 2 says:

    I can’t label her as a bad parent based off a single incident which was clearly a tragic accident. All parents make mistakes. Nobody is perfect.

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