MeToo Under the Sea: Man Who Stalked Octopus Subject of New Netflix Documentary

Animal lovers can be a little…overzealous. We get it. Animals are awesome. Especially those that live under the sea. But just because you’re obsessed doesn’t mean you get to stalk them. Try telling that to Craig Foster, the subject of the new Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher.

“A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world,” says the streaming giant’s description of the film. OK, sounds tame enough. But read the following excerpt from a CNN article about the doc and imagine that it’s referencing not an octopus, but a woman:

“Craig Foster was diving, bare-chested, in bitterly cold waters off the southern-most tip of Africa when he saw her — an octopus hiding under a cloak of shells and stones. Enchanted, he began following this incredibly shy creature, trying to prove he wasn’t a predator by staying very still in her presence. For weeks she evaded him: hiding in her den, camouflaging herself, or pushing her liquid body into the nearest crack to escape. And then, after 26 days of near obsessive wooing, she reached out and touched him.”

The article goes on to detail how Foster spent up to two hours daily following the octopus to capture the “intimate moments” of her life, like laying a clutch of eggs. (Invade one’s privacy much?) In Netflix’s official preview, Foster is shown caressing the octopus’s tentacles. (*Shudder*)

“In the water it’s intimate,” Foster told CNN of his “once-in-a-lifetime” bond with the eight-limbed mollusk. “When she chooses to let you into her world … it’s a very, very special moment of not just being accepted, but that your presence to her also feels natural, like you belong in that space with her.”

Um, yeah, that’s creepy, dude. Like Lolita-level creepy. And since octopi can’t speak, and this unnamed one in particular is now dead, we don’t know how she felt about this so-called relationship (though we suspect it wasn’t consensual). What we do know is that the #MeToo movement hasn’t reached the ocean floor yet.

Cover Photo: Netflix

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