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Capitalizing on Animal Fame

Knut the Polar Bear is the Latest Victim of Celebrity Betrayal

— January 6, 2009 — Lifestyle
Knut, the celebrity polar bear that was nurtured and raised at the Berlin Zoo after his mother rejected him at birth, has been betrayed by the son of his late keeper.

He now joins the ranks of Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Ireland Baldwin, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston, and Drew Barrymore. All of whom have had “tell all” books written about them by close family members for money.

Knut did not suffer disloyalty because of a tabloid or a sleazy book detailing his sexual prowess or illicit romances with bears of the same or opposite sex. No DUIs or paternity suits have been filed, or cubs coming out of the woodwork to steal his thunder. No altercations with Paparazzi. He is not practicing Scientology or on steroids. Worse, his keeper and surrogate father’s personal property is being auctioned off on eBay.

Thomas Doerflein, Knut’s keeper, died suddenly last September. Now, his 18-year-old-son is capitalizing on Knut’s celebrity by auctioning off his father’s belongings. Among the Powerseller items are a sleeping bag, which the keeper slept in while caring for Knut; a 10-year-old car, a belt, a book with a CD that Doerflein used to sing to Knut, a pocket knife, as well as other seller’s miscellaneous items.

So far, the items brought $10,000, but Doerflein’s former fiancée described the sale of his possessions as totally “tasteless.”

Knut has generated millions of dollars for the Berlin Zoo within the last two years, but is expected to be evicted as soon as they can find another one that wants to take care of him.

Another child star with a thankless entourage.

Photo credit: Polar bear Knut eats his ‘birthday cake’ during his second birthday celebrations in his enclosure at the Berlin Zoo December 5, 2008.(Johannes Eisele/Reuters)