In just over a week, a YouTube video titled “Shark Attack - Cam Girl Bitten off Florida Coast,” featuring porn performer Molly Cavalli supposedly being bitten by a lemon shark has amassed almost 15 million views. And that was the plan all along, according to Bryce Rohrer, owner and operator of Florida Shark Diving, who says he was approached by the performer and a film crew to help them fake an attack that would go viral.

Reports the Palm Beach Post:

Advertisement

Rohrer has a text message that the actress, Molly Cavalli, sent him with an image of what the bite would look like with special effects makeup.

“I was talking directly to Molly and she just said, hey, we are looking to do a shoot faking a shark bite and it’s strictly in order for it to go viral,” Rohrer said. “We immediately declined. We are pro-shark, pro-wildlife, and want to show the importance of sharks, not villainize them.”

The video features Cavalli in a shark cage interspersed with footage of lemon sharks (which are generally not a threat to humans, as there are only 10 lemon shark-on-human bites on record and none have been fatal). Tellingly, the cameras do not catch the supposed bite, but instead focus on a closeup on Cavalli’s goggle-covered face before pulling back to reveal that she is bleeding. CamSoda, whom Cavalli works for, notified press outlets that her wound required 20 stitches.

The Palm Beach Post also contacted expert George H. Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File, who said of Cavalli’s wound, which can be seen in the final moments of the video:

Advertisement

I can tell you for a fact, it was not a shark bite. How it was inflicted is conjectural, but the main thing is, the injury is not a shark bite. It was a PR stunt, and it worked.

Sounds like some bullshit to me that preys on human fears that in turn prey on shark populations (the “Jaws effect”). I reached out to CamSoda and will update this post if and when I hear back.