NBC News makes a mockery of itself with story about two male whales having ‘gay sex’

Finer points of a corporate media spread on whales having “gay sex” led to a severe roast on social media.

“Are we sure this is a win for LGBT Rights?”

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine’s push for a “summer of pride” has seemingly escalated to a year-long affair, including a report from NBC News on a newly published study on humpback whales.

Writing for their NBC Out section, reporter Matt Lavietes drew attention to photographs taken by Lyle Krannichfeld and Brandi Romano in Jan. 2022 off the coast of Maui, Hawaii featured in Marine Mammal Science this week.

The caption for the post on social media read, “Photographers in Hawaii have captured two male humpback whales having sex, in what experts say is the first time the species has been documented exhibiting sexual activity of any kind.”

Image via X

While the report from Lavietes would lean into the normalization angle, stating, “Same-sex behavior is common in the animal kingdom and has been well documented in other species,” and that the study itself had noted observations of other marine mammals behaving likewise including gray seal, Amazon river dolphins and walruses, specifics of the encounter included in the piece read like trial testimony from witnesses of a MeToo victim.

“The encounter occurred between one male whale who appeared unhealthy or injured and a strong and healthy male whale,” wrote the reporter referencing the study. “The whale that received penetration was visibly emaciated and covered in whale lice that can proliferate on humpback whales that have lost mobility…”

Going on the note that the study authors believed the sick whale had possibly approached a boat to seek cover, the report further detailed, “The emaciated whale circled the boat and attempted to swim away from the healthier whale,” which then, “held the other whale in place with its pectoral fins and began to penetrate the other whale.”

One user on X highlighted the disturbing specifics of the study and reiterated with a hardly unique critique, “So a dying unhealthy whale got raped by a stronger dominant male in a power play. Are we sure this is a win for LGBT Rights?”

“We realized pretty quickly that there was a scientific significance to it,” Krannichfeld told NBC News. “Even if there were no articles published or nothing came of it, we knew that it was important to the scientific community and those who were studying the whales just because of the unique behavior.”

The photographer went on to say, “The whales are a big part of our lives here in Maui. Everybody that’s involved with them and who photographs them kind of realizes that that’s never been captured. Mating and birth are the two main things that are still kind of unknown.”

He added of “making a product” of photographing whales, “it’s nice to be able to feel like I’m giving something back to the whales, help people understand them better.”

The people gave back in their own way as NBC News and the story itself were mocked with movie references, a nod to illicit behaviors by Senate staffers, and callouts to commentator Alex Jones.

Kevin Haggerty

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