‘It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all,’ proclaims the iconic opening scene of The Lion King.
Well, for Australian fanatics still reeling from the death of Mufasa, the circle of life has delivered renewed trauma as the life of one their favourites came to an abrupt end.
And the kicker? The ice-cold killing was broadcast on live breakfast television.
When Melissa and Stephen realised they had a 'one of a kind' Lion King Woolworths Ooshie they advertised it for sale in exchange for much-needed water. However, after relentless abuse, Stephen destroyed the valuable Ooshie LIVE on air in protest of online trolls. #9Today pic.twitter.com/jVFkZ4XyTT
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) August 1, 2019
Struggling Victorian farmers Stephen Black and Melissa Portingale thought they had been dealt plasticky gold after they unwrapped an ultra-rare furry Simba Ooshie following a trip to Woolworths.
The special plastic figurine is only one of 100 in circulation as part of the supermarket’s The Lion King promotional series.
Others in the collection have already been offered on eBay for absurd sums upwards of $10,000, with some fetching unsubstantiated bids of $100,000.
The Shepparton hay-growers decided to offer their sacred possession – the ‘number 001’ furry Simba Ooshie, the first ever produced – for $5000, with the money intended to prop up their parched farm.
Their farm is one of many affected by the ongoing allegations of mismanagement of water resources in the Murray-Darling Basin.
However, things took a sinister turn once the sale was posted to Facebook, as they copped online abuse from infuriated parents.
“We said we were asking about $5000 for it. People were just disgusted. The abuse started,” Ms Portingale told the Nine Network on Friday.
“It was just hate, and suicidal threats and just some really awful things were said.”
Seeing no other way to stem the social media bullies, Mr Black nipped them in the bud by chopping up the Simba Ooshie with scissors.
“You can’t buy it. I’m going to destroy it,” he said, hacking away at the toy.
“If we were on the edge like some of the farmers are that have taken their lives because it got too much, this stuff may have pushed one of us over the edge.
“You ask yourself what is a life worth … what money? Is it worth this? It’s not.”
The dramatic move garnered a mixed response on social media. Some applauded the farmers’ defiant stand, while others were stunned – and had to explain the on-air calamity to their children.
Desperate time, call for desperate measures. It’s pretty sad that the community cares more about shitty little toys than our farmers plight to survive. The government really need to heed this warning about the Murray darling basin though before more farmers lose their livelihoods
— Darren Tyler (@DarrenTyler76) August 1, 2019