THE mystery surrounding the identity of a naked man pictured straddling a dead shark in a bizarre trophy killing photograph has deepened.
So far two high profile lookalikes, one a US football coach and the other a sandwich chain millionaire, have denied being the grinning man in the disturbing snap.
The photograph started doing the rounds last Friday and gained traction after it was tweeted by British television presenter and animal welfare activist Anneka Svenska, who urged followers to hunt the man down.
“Who is this man? Please RT, find him & ask him why he did this? Where is the humour in humiliating slaughtered animals?” Svenska tweeted.
— Anneka Svenska (@AnnekaSvenska) May 5, 2017
The image shows an overweight, completely naked man lying atop a shark in what appears to be some sort of luxury fishing boat.
The man’s distinctive looks have sent the internet into a frenzy as online sleuths struggle work out who he is.
University of Florida football coach Jim McElwain this week issued a statement to deny he was the man in the picture after reporters quizzed him at a press conference.
“Well, first and foremost, I don’t know who it is, but it isn’t me,” he said. “You know, in the world we live, what is a story? I just know this, it isn’t me.”
The best* thing to happen to the internet is Jim McElwain having sex with a dead shark
*worst (my poor eyes) https://t.co/pZLChcaqMu
— Your Personal Jesus (@TheLastJesus) May 10, 2017
— Josh Newberg (@joshnewberg247) May 10, 2017
He can deny it all he wants. We all know the truth, he humped that dead shark. https://t.co/o9E2S4tIdQ
— Patrick Fagan (@Patyrick17) May 10, 2017
The Gators coach certainly looks like the naked shark hunter but another US personality bears a resemblance that is even more uncanny.
Sandwich chain mogul Jimmy John Liautaud has emerged as the prime suspect and social media users have been posting chilling photographs of the notorious game hunter’s trophy kills as evidence he was capable of such a stunt.
@TheAliciaKraft @AnnekaSvenska @ChrisGPackham @Protect_Wldlife @_AnimalAdvocate @LabourAnimalRG @domdyer70 @SaveOurSharks @FfSharks @PeterEgan6 @peteswildlife @wenhiggins Animal serial killer Jimmy John Liautaud smiling/posing next to some of his victims>🦏(laying naked on a dead shark wouldn’t surprise me) pic.twitter.com/GXBwsTqOjl
— Beth Lamb (@vanambb) May 6, 2017
Liautaud’s sickening hobby has prompted several campaigns to shun his business and the hashtag #BoycottJimmyJohns is enjoying a resurgence today as suspicion grows that he is in fact the man in the shot.
After years of posing with dead elephants, rhinos and bears, Liautaud distanced himself from the sport in 2015, telling the Chicago Tribune: “I don’t hunt big African game anymore”.
But yesterday the sandwich mogul issued a denial through a spokesman, who told Deadspin the man in the photo was “definitely not” his boss.
Meanwhile, curiosity about the man’s identity is growing as the mystery deepens.