In a bizarre twist events unfolding in England, Rebekah Brooks, the first female editor of The Sun, is facing criticism for ‘poor treatment’ of a former Metropolitan police horse named ‘Raisa’ after reports that the animal was returned to Scotland Yard at the age of 24 in ‘poor condition’.
Already facing heat for alleged involvement in the phone hacking scandal, these new allegations have been recently dubbed ‘horsegate’ for their close similarity to the Watergate scandal endured by Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Though seemingly less important, after it was discovered that Ms. Brooks was riding buddies with former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan, the situation ‘galloped’ out of control. In defense of Ms. Brooks, media mogul Rupert Murdoch chimed in when Brooks began to face heat from The Met( who filed the allegations of poor treatment of the horse), saying in a tweet that “Now they are complaining about R Brooks saving an old horse from the glue factory!”. Following suit, statements were also made by Charlie Brooks, a noted racehorse trainer and husband of Ms. Brooks. He stated that, “I have been around and looked after horses all my life and I am confident that I know more about caring for them than people at the Met Police.”
A glance at other news sources lends more insight into the true reason this incident has taken off across the internet: As reported in DailyMail.co.uk, Raisa (now deceased) “has become the symbol of dubious links between the Metropolitan Police and Rupert Murdoch’s News International.” It is currently alleged that in addition to Mr. McMullan, current Prime Minister David Cameron may have also been riding buddies with Ms. Brooks, and in fact ridden Raisa. Whether the closeness between the media queen, the Met, and the current Prime Minister had any effect or influence on the phone hacking scandal is unclear.
At this time, I cannot be certain if any of these allegations can be verified or not. What I can verify is that the internet is having entirely too much fun with the situation: following these allegations, the internet became filled with puns, joking messages, and other horse-themed backlash aimed at Ms. Brooks. Below are a few examples:
Members of the Twitter community also chimed in, mainly with poorly placed puns:
Further puns and gags helped the ‘horsegate’ reach a fever pitch, even earning a story on Huffington Post solely on the trending ‘tweets’ cracking jokes at the turn of events. As the twitter responses and images continue to stampede across the internet (sorry, I just had to let out one good pun of my own), it will be interesting to see how this turn of events will evolve as the internet community continues to react on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking platforms.