Koko "nipple fetish" lawsuit

 

The video from ABC news just gives the highlights of this ridiculous issue. Koko from the beginning has been a dubious enterprise; as I recall she was more or less stolen from a California zoo to take part in an ape sign language experiment. At least now she is said to speak GSL rather than ASL! Interestingly in a perverse way, this is not the first time Koko's nipple interests surfaced. See the online transcript from a few years ago-- exhibit B-- where Koko displays a tiny MLU of 1.9?

And is it any surprise that she isn't that interested in mating with real male gorillas! She's lived with humans under what sort of conditions. Sexual identity is typically established early in life -- what is Koko?

 

Several articles were written about this case. This is the most amusing.

"Alperin, Keller and Rivera say they were told by foundation founder Francine Patterson to flash Koko Girls Gone Wild-style, because the gorilla is a fan of mammaries.
Will Koko ever get to tell her version of the sordid story? Gorilla Foundation Attorney Todd Roberts thanked us for our inquiry, but didn’t say whether he would call Koko to the stand. Koko speaks “a modified form of American Sign Language,” according to the foundation.
“The biggest hurdle is not the sign language issue,” assuming a court-approved interpreter could understand Koko, said Ellen Kreitzberg, who teaches a course in evidence at Santa Clara University School of Law. “It’s the competency issue. Can [Koko] understand and appreciate the taking of an oath?” Koko would also need to show that she knows the difference between the truth and a lie and that fibbing has consequences. “I suspect that would be very difficult to prove with a gorilla,” Kreitzberg said. She clarified that since the Koko cases are civil and not criminal, a jury of gorillas isn’t necessary to render a verdict. In the event of criminal prosecution, finding 12 gorillas who haven’t been influenced by all the press could be tricky. For now, the consensus is that even calling Koko to the stand could cause problems. “The punishment for perjury is jail,” noted local criminal defense attorney Tom Kelley, who doubts the slammer’s much of a deterrent for a caged animal. Plus, “How can you ever prove a gorilla is intentionally not telling the truth?” "

 

11/24/05 Nipple Case settled out of court!