BURBANK, Calif. —
Shark conservation organizations are reporting a spike in donations after an adult film actress claimed President Donald Trump was terrified of sharks and wanted them all to die.
In a 2011 interview with In Touch magazine detailing her alleged 2006 affair with Trump, actress Stormy Daniels claimed Trump was obsessed with and terrified of sharks.
“He was like, ‘I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die,'” she told the magazine.
Since a transcript of Daniels’ interview was published on Jan. 19, California-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA said they have seen donations spike threefold on some days during a month that is generally slower than others as far as charitable giving is concerned.
According to Zorianna Kit, the organization’s media director, most of the donations came from residents of the United States, and many noted Trump as their reason for donating. Comments left along with donations include “Trump made me do it,” “Sharks trump Trump,” and “Because Trump,” Kit told ABC.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in Massachusetts also reported an increase in donations over the past week.
“We are grateful for the public’s support and will be using the contributions to fund shark research and our education programs,” CEO Cynthia Wigren told ABC.
While sharks have a bad rap as dangerous predators, they play an integral role in marine ecosystems. Shark populations around the world are declining at alarming rates, with an estimated 100 million sharks killed each year. Dozens of shark species are now considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In many parts of the world, sharks are hunted specifically for their fins and livers. They’re also often caught inadvertantly as bycatch in many marine fisheries.