Most Read

Top stories


Ted Cruz Dragged After Falling For Decade-Old Shark Hoax Following Tropical Storm Hilary

The GOP Senator retweeted a photoshopped image of a shark supposedly swimming along a flooded 405 freeway in Los Angeles after Tropical Storm Hilary.

Ted Cruz
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz was widely mocked online after he fell for a an old photoshopped image of a shark supposedly swimming along a flooded 405 freeway in Los Angeles that circulated as Tropical Stom Hilary lashed Southern California.

Cruz retweeted the photo with a caption expressing surprise, only to be swiftly corrected by internet users who recognized the image as a variation of a hoax that has been circulating online since 2011.

You can see Cruz's post below.

The original photo, which depicted a shark trailing a kayaker, was published in a 2005 article by Africa Geographic. However, the image has been manipulated over the years to create the appearance of sharks swimming in various roadways during different storms.

Social media users quickly added Community Notes to provide the context Cruz sorely lacked:

"The photo originally appeared in 2011, after Hurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico. The hoax also made the rounds in 2015 after Texas was hit with heavy rains, in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew and again in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey."
"The photograph is a digital hoax. The image of the shark was lifted from a 2005 photograph of a kayaker being trailed by a great white shark and pasted into a photograph of a flooded street."

Cruz's post received widespread mockery and criticism, with many highlighting his lack of critical thinking.

Others pointed to Cruz's history of making gaffes during major weather events, which reignited criticisms of his ill-timed trip to Cancún in early 2021.

Indeed, Cruz faced considerable national backlash after he flew to Cancún while millions of people went without food and water as a result of the February 2021 Texas power disaster. At least 246 people were killed directly or indirectly; some estimates suggested as many as 702 people were killed as a result of the crisis.

The jokes came rushing in.

Cruz later admitted he fell for a hoax but tried to turn it into an own the libs moment.

He failed:

"I'm told this is a joke. In LA, you never know... And everyone please stay safe from the storm or otherwise."

You can see Cruz's response below.

But Dan Katz—the Barstool Sports podcaster known as Big Cat who posted the meme Cruz fell for—couldn't resist taking another jab at the Senator by posting a fake photo of sharks swimming in a flooded mall.

He wrote:

"Wait who said it was a joke? It’s a shark on a highway. It’s real as real could be. Look I also have a shark in a mall."

You can see Katz's post below.

People loved that too.

Tropical Storm Hilary, the first to strike Southern California in 84 years, caused extensive damage as it swept through the region.

The storm flooded roads, uprooted trees, and necessitated the rescue of numerous elderly residents trapped by mud in a care facility. As Hilary continued its journey northward, flood watches and warnings were issued for several states.

Although the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that Hilary had significantly weakened and its impact had lessened, remnants of the storm were still making their way over the Rocky Mountains.

Despite the storm's diminished strength, the center issued a cautionary statement indicating that significant flooding with life-threatening consequences was still anticipated across portions of the Southwestern U.S. This prediction follows unprecedented levels of rainfall.