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Woman Accused Of ‘Disrespecting’ Steve Irwin’s Memory By Telling Friend’s Kid He Smelled Bad

Steve Irwin
Justin Sullivan / Stringer / Getty Images

In the age of cultivated reality, it can be tempting to believe that if it isn’t perfect, it is wrong.

Tiktok and Youtube, and Snapchat have taught us how to omit the nasty parts of our lives.

So what happens when the veneer of perfection is pulled back, and the smelly reality beneath is revealed?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) tuzi2 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for ruining Steve Irwin for my friend’s daughter?”


“I [38f] got to visit my friend recently and spent the night.”

“One of her daughters [13f] spent a couple hours watching old episodes of The Crocodile Hunter on a TV.”

“My friend said her daughter’s been pretty interested in animals and wildlife and nature, so they got her some of those to watch since she remembers enjoying those shows as a kid, and the modern versions of them don’t seem as good.”

“I thought this was great as I actually grew up near Beerwah, Australia (where the Australia Zoo is) and we went a lot – even into my young adulthood before moving to the US for work.”

“Got to see Steve a couple of times, and later Bindi when she got older, at a couple of talks / small group settings.”

“My friend said, ‘Wow, you should totally tell my daughter about that!”‘

Cool story!

“So a while later, I went into the living room where the daughter was watching the shows, and I told her, ‘I got to see Steve a couple of times before he died and later Bindi,’ and she got excited and started asking me a lot of questions.”

“I told her he seemed like a great guy and as much as I could remember about the animals.”

“Then I told her about a detail about the first ‘talk’/small-ish group I saw him at where he warned us that he had to help cover for a keeper who called in sick and cleaned out the primate houses right before this talk.”

“And hadn’t showered yet, so we really might not a front-row seat.”

“I didn’t listen and got one anyways, and…ooof, regretted it. I’m sure it was a great talk and a treasured memory looking back, but at the time, all I could think about was how not to gag!”

“This horrified my friend’s daughter more than I thought, as she went, ‘ewww he smelled bad?’ I was sorta taken aback and said ‘well, what do you think, being around animals all day, every day!'”

“‘That day was worse than others, I’m sure, but come to think of it, he stunk pretty bad the other time I got close enough to smell him too…so did Bindi, for that matter”‘

“My friend’s daughter is apparently also very into spas and perfumes and smelling nice, and this has put a great damper on her thoughts of working with wildlife and even her enthusiasm for seeing it through a screen.”


“My friend called me the next day and said, ‘Of all the things to share with her did you really have to bring up how Steve Irwin smelled like monkey waste when you met him and distracted you from the talk?”‘

“She said that seemed like an inappropriate thing to bring up to a young girl and also disrespectful to Steve’s memory.”

“But I don’t think it was inappropriate to bring up. I think it’s a realistic part of the work Steve did and was certainly something that stuck in my memory.”

“If anything, it made me respect the work he did more!”

OP was left to wonder,


Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: NTA

The stink of a job well done.


“It wasn’t inappropriate to say a zookeeper smelled. And it’s the reality of the job. She’s 13 and should be able to handle knowing that.”

“If she’s put off by knowing animals stink, she shouldn’t be working with wildlife anyway.” ~ alwaysmonochromeblue

“I worked at an aquarium, and fish oil would get into our skin.”

“There no scrubbing that out. We were not popular at the bar after work. The smell is part of animal care. She should know.” ~ osmicHiccup

“I used to work with chimps, and they stink out loud.”

“If that girl wants to douse herself in celebrity-endorsed perfumes and make cute little TikTok videos of herself posing with CoOL AniMaLs then she has no business being in that line of work.”

“She’ll wash out before her first week is up. It’s dirty stinky work.” ~ Fromashination

Acting her age.

“In fairness, she’s 13.”

“Middle schoolers are not exactly known for their realistic expectations about the world. I would not hold her to adult standards of logic and awareness just yet.” ~ DiTrastevere


“People are so harsh on her, and that comment was so judgmental (and a bit sexist).”

“Lots of people had silly dreams when they were kids. I wanted to be a president when I was 13 and switched it to astrophysicist after I saw one documentary on discovery.”


“The gross commenter is in fact gross and very fatphobic in their post history, ew.” ~ zulzulfie


“This is 100% average and normal of a tween.”

“I’m not sure why that person is so bitter; maybe they’ve never been around 13-year-old girls.”

“They all obsess/love makeup, perfume, and salons.”

“There’s not a 13-year-old that hasn’t bought the ‘old lady’ vanilla perfume at the store or put on way too much of some knockoff PINK perfume.”

“It’s their first ‘taste’ of being a woman.”

“We all change our minds 1000x of what we want to do or who we are.” ~ GeekCat

A deeper problem.

“NTA lol.”

“The only way I could see you being even a little bit of an a**hole is if the daughter was prone to obsessive-compulsive behaviour AND you’d been made aware of it prior to this.”

“But based on what you wrote that doesn’t seem like the issue at all.”

“Also, I think some of these commenters need a refresher on what misogyny is;”

“Specifically, what behaviors are viewed as silly or degrading because of their cultural association with women (sewing, cooking, knitting, etc), and what behaviours are culturally associated with women because they are silly or degrading by themselves.”

“Being obsessed with spas and cleanliness to the point that she can’t enjoy watching Steve Irwin through a screen isn’t healthy, nor is it ‘a sign of her becoming a woman”‘. ~ pipuhattur

Animals… smell.


“Better she learn now than her grow up, go to college, get a degree, and learn when she gets her first animal-related job that, hey, animals kinda stink.”

“Whether it’s zoos or vets or marine biology, there are smells involved, and I’m amazed a 13-year-old is just now finding this out.” ~Lost_Rat_

“NTA – The kid is a teenager!”

“She should know animals can make you smell bad.”

“Hell, even dogs and cats can make you smell or look bad (as the owner of two fluffy goldens, I’m covered in fur most days and God forbid it’s raining out).” ~ atlasmc88


“Wtf is wrong with people?”

“Of course people working with animals will smell bad sometimes…I mean, you can say he smelt normal most of the time when he hadn’t been cleaning pens.”

“I mean, what is the intention here? To lie to the child about it until they visit the zoo one time? Or a pet store?”

“Absurd.” ~ LB-Dash

Steve’s legacy.

“And Steve Irwin would be the first one to tell you this, so there’s no disrespecting his memory either.” ~ shibbyflow

“I expected something very different from a post titled ‘ruining Steve Irwin’.”

“I thought OP would say that he wasn’t that awesome in real life (which I would consider totally believable, because tv images are managed).”

“But instead, OP described Steve in a way that bolsters his authenticity (he smelled like a zookeeper, not a celebrity).”

“That counts as a good story.” ~ Trini1113

“By all accounts that I’ve ever heard, Steve was the real deal – the same person on tv as he was in real life.”

“Truly passionate about protecting animals and sharing knowledge. His family all seem similar, which is lovely.” ~ perfidious_snatch


“Obviously I cannot speak for Steve Irwin, but I would like to think he’d find what you told that girl hilarious and give his full approval.”

“Honestly, if someone wants to be around animals, they need to understand they stink.”

“Particularly in the medical field. I’m not even in that field, and I know humans smell particularly bad.” ~ scrapfactor

I can’t speak for Steve Irwin.

I knew him the way most of us knew him: as the overly excited Australian screaming about the extremely deadly animal he was going to go pet.

He was energetic and kind and eager to share the whole of his knowledge with anyone who would listen long enough to hear “crikey!”

Reality has pimples and scabs and smells.

I think Steve would’ve approved.

We do hope this young zookeeper in the making doesn’t let the smell deter their passion.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.