A viral photo appearing to show a monkey taking a selfie went viral in 2011 – and since then has been a source of legal and financial grief for photographer David Slater.
Self-funding a trip to Indonesia to work with this particular monkey tribe, Slater staged the photo during a month of working with the macaque monkeys. He set up a camera on a tripod, taught the monkey to come close to it and got it to press the button, Slater described on this week’s “The Jeff Fisher Show.”
Wikipedia was Slater’s first problem, determining that the famous “monkey selfie” was public domain because the monkey pressed the button. PETA next jumped in on the case, pretending that the monkey took the photographer’s camera, ran off with it and somehow knew to take the photo on its own.
Six years later, Slater is still fighting a legal battle for his photo. A judge ruled in 2016 that animals can’t own rights to photos, but a lawyer appealed the case on behalf of the monkey PETA claims is the monkey in the photo. According to Slater, PETA doesn’t even have the correct monkey because the monkey in the picture is not Naruto, a male, but a female macaque named Ella.