On April 2 of 2019, a Texas native and small TikTok creator named Will uploaded a black-and-white, slow-motion video featuring his adorable pet monkey. George’s TikTok debut gained the attention of Will’s followers, who were curious about the domesticated primate. Over the next few months, Will uploaded videos of George having his nose cleaned, George expertly squeezing a pimple and George pulling silly putty from Will’s nose. TikTok users were fascinated by how intelligent the monkey was. His mannerisms, facial expressions and keen ability to use everyday objects were remarkably human. Unbeknownst to him, Georgie Boy was well on his way to internet stardom.
The followers rapidly flooded in. Will posted a video joking about the viral success and how his followers couldn’t care less about him since he revealed George. However, Will did not seem to mind the viral attention being directed at his pet monkey. He renamed the account @heresyourmonkeycontent and began to build Georgie Boy’s brand, using the account exclusively to show off the monkey’s capabilities and adorable facial expressions.
— Georgie Boy (@heresyourmonke1) June 29, 2021
George was adopted as an emotional support animal for Will’s mother-in-law, who suffers from complex regional pain syndrome. As Will explained in a video posted on March 2, George was rescued by Will’s family after he was passed around between different owners as a baby. Not only was the living situation ideal for bringing joy to Will’s mother-in-law, it was beneficial for George as well. According to the family, George descended from “a long line of domesticated monkeys” and thus lacked the natural survival instincts for a life outside of human captivity.
The account has received its fair share of criticism in George’s few years on TikTok. Commenters have condemned the family for owning a wild animal and accused them of suppressing George’s innate spirit by domesticating him. The family has also received backlash from commenters claiming the family could never truly understand George’s nature. They believed George might one day attack them, as no one can predict the true nature of an animal. Despite the negativity, the majority of followers were supportive of the family and their desire to provide George with a loving home.
Slowly, George became a staple of For You pages everywhere. During the pandemic, the daily content George’s family provided became a source of great wonder and joy for many users. Georgie Boy educated the public on just how intelligent monkeys can be. He became a symbol, of sorts, for animal rights, as his close bond with his human family proved just how caring a pet is capable of being. George has a curious nature and fascination with the little things that most humans take for granted. Any little object George came into contact with was a wonder to be explored, such as an old flip phone he toyed with in one of his viral videos. To George, every little trinket was worth his careful consideration.
Famous TikTok influencers and even celebrities such as Jason Derulo took notice of George and commented on his videos. Over the next year, the Georgie Boy account transformed when Will opened a P.O. box for followers to send George gifts. George’s followers could directly interact with their favorite monkey and see his reactions to the toys and food they sent him. George’s family even transformed a room of their house into a space to film their unboxing videos, complete with fan art decorating the walls and even a rope swing for George.
Followers ate up the content of George opening his gifts from fans and sponsorships. George was astoundingly astute. In every video, he puzzled out how to open the packages on his own, methodically sorting through each one. Best of all, George always “read” the instruction manuals that came with his new gadgets. With a very human-like grimace of concentration, George assembled his toys and attempted to figure out what they were for. Amazingly, he guessed an object’s correct usage a majority of the time, or otherwise entertainingly invented a whole new purpose for them. George would even smile and squeal in delight when a present particularly pleased him, such as a ball pit he received for his room.
The joy George spread to his TikTok followers and his human family further expanded when the Georgie Boy team began to donate gifts to young children who supported George. Specifically, young cancer patients and children in the Seattle Children’s Hospital who had been touched by George’s content.
The Georgie Boy account continued to grow and become a source of positivity, charity and much-needed wholesome content. George reached an astounding 18 million followers. Will and his family began to create merchandise for fans of Georgie Boy to purchase. All the while, George lived his lavish life in the limelight, unaware that he was a treasure to millions.
On June 7 of this year, tragedy struck the happy family and their faithful followers alike. In a video update, the family explained that George had gone to the veterinarian for a routine dental procedure. While he was under anesthesia, they discovered that George had an underlying respiratory condition. Just a few weeks after his 12th birthday, Georgie Boy unexpectedly passed away.
Millions of fans watched heartbroken as a teary-eyed Will took to TikTok a few days later to detail the struggles he was going through with the loss of his best friend. Will was not alone in his grief, and George’s followers mourned along with him. George’s videos had become a daily ritual for many people. It was as if he had become their pet too. Many followers watched Georgie Boy with their young children every day. He had a special place on TikTok. Everyone had grown to love him.
The Georgie Boy team has since announced that even though George may no longer be with them, they still plan on uploading content and using their platform to donate to charities. The family has some never-before-seen footage of George that they still plan to post. They are also now caring for George’s biological sister, Lacy, who is “starting to come out of her shell” and develop her own personality. She may be the perfect candidate for more monkey content.
However, the family has made it abundantly clear that they never intend to replace George. To them, George was like “a little boy” or “a little brother” who can never be substituted. More than a pet, he was a part of their family. The Georgie Boy team thus wishes for their account to continue to be a place of light, hope and all the good things that George stood for.
Despite the plans for George’s family to continue his legacy of love, saying goodbye to the monkey will not be easy. He will be dearly missed by millions around the world.