Last year I wrote this post, where I expressed doubt that the people who claim to have taught apes sign language are legit. The main reason why I smelled a rat was due to the reluctance of the researchers to allow outside observers who could sign interact with the apes.
Now there’s this news story. It seems that Francine Patterson, the head of the Gorilla Foundation, told three female employees at different times to bare their breasts. She claimed that Koko, the most famous of the signing gorillas, was requesting it.
Two of the employees were fired and filed suit against the Foundation. The third employee actually figured that stripping for the ape was the only way to keep her job, so she flashed some chest. Now she’s signed on as co-suer.
You know, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of where something like this worked. (If the suit has merit and isn’t some bizarre attempt at free money, that is.) Usually saying that it’s your dog who wants to get a gander at the goods results in a slapped face. There’s going to be a run on exotic animal pet stores as frat boys buy up the country’s monkey population.
The second thing that occurs to me is that it was Ms. Patterson who was telling the three women what Koko wanted. None of them could understand ASL and tell what the ape was trying to say, even though they were entrusted to work in the closest proximity to the star attraction.
Makes me wonder.
I wonder why, if it’s Koko and not Ms. Patterson with the breast fetish, why they don’t just get her an Internet connection and a credit card number. Seems it would be cheaper than a lawsuit.