Sir David Attenborough has been targeted with death threats and faces a possible FBI investigation after suggesting that Donald Trump could be shot.
Speaking before the US Presidential election, the broadcasting legend was asked how he would feel about America voting for Trump. who has claimed that climate change is a “Chinese hoax”.
In comments reported on inews Sir David answered: “We could shoot him. It’s not a bad idea.” A giggle indicated that the natural history presenter was not being serious.
However the more fanatical pro-Trump supporters failed to see the joke.
Sir David, whose new Planet Earth II BBC series is entertaining 11m viewers, has been the victim of online abuse, including death threats, following the remark.
Others contacted the FBI and Secret Service feeds on Twitter, urging the authorities to open an investigation into Sir David, citing any threat to assassinate the President as a Class E felony.
Sir David, 90, was accused of “incitement to murder”.
The Secret Service has actively pursued Twitter threats against the President and Presidential candidates since 2012.
Agents recently questioned a 20-year-old Chicago man who posted a Tweet joking that “I think I have to kill Trump.”
And a lecturer at New Jersey’s Rutgers University was questioned by police after criticising Trump on Twitter.
Kevin Allred claimed on Twitter that NYPD officers detained him and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, before releasing him.
Tweets sent to the authorities accompanying the Attenborough story, read: “@FBI you might like to ask Sir David Attenborough why he suggested Donald Trump should be shot” and “police, arrest this man.”
“Ban him from the US & inform the secret service,” wrote another.
Online threats made to the broadcaster include: “HOW ABOUT WE PUT 2 IN THE BACK YOUR HEAD”, “kill him!!!” and “how about banning #Attenborough from entering the USA?”
One respondent advocated a boycott of Planet Earth II in protest.
Sir David told the i that he did not intend anyone to take his aside seriously. “It was a jocular remark,” he said.
The broadcaster said he wasn’t aware of the furore and hadn’t received any threats directly.
However Sir David may find entering the US or applying for a visa more difficult if his joke raise a “red flag” with Homeland Security. The FBI did not respond to the i’s request for comment.
• This article originally appeared on our sister paper’s site inews.co.uk