Smokey Bear must deliver an important message about wildfire safety. But viewers this year were talking about his balloon at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for an entirely different reason: his menacing, muscular, unsettling horniness.
As the giant hovering bear floated across the streets of New York City on Thursday, onlookers took to social media to ask why the iconic shirtless character looked unusually puffy this year with particularly bulging pecs.
As one Twitter user writes, “Since when is Smokey Bear Zaddy ace?” Another simply asked, “Why is Smokey Bear trying to look sexy?”
Founded in 1944, Smokey Bear has since served as a powerful public service announcement about the dangers of unplanned wildfires. With his slogan – “Only YOU can prevent wildfires” – Smokey has raised awareness about a problem that continues to destroy wildlife and infrastructure on a mind-boggling scale. More than 62,000 fires have destroyed more than seven million acres in the U.S. alone this year, according to statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center.
But as the need for wildfire safety has grown, so has Smokey Bear’s hotness. Despite originally being designed to have a body similar to that of a real bear, the character’s appearance inadvertently dropped Ursine’s realism in favor of a slimmer, voluptuous look in a 2007 redesign, according to Slate.
Still, it seems that a decade and a half later, some people are still unnerved at the sight of a ripped Smokey Bear: