Diver who swam with massive shark is getting harsh backlash for touching it

She says her goal is to spread the message of respecting animals.
The viral video is getting backlash from critics.
The viral video is getting backlash from critics.(HNN)
Updated: Jan. 21, 2019 at 10:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Almost a week after an incredible video of divers swimming with a massive great white shark surfaced online, the well-known shark researcher seen in the clip is now receiving death threats.

Critics are accusing Ocean Ramsey of harassing the shark. The video shows her gently placing her hand on the animal as it swam by peacefully.

She says she’s now being harassed online and getting threatening phone calls, and they keep calling repeatedly.

'They were like a crazy lunatic saying ‘I’m gonna kill you for touching sharks,’" she told Hawaii News Now. “I’ve continually put disclaimers out there working with sharks for over 15 years (that) we generally avoid touching wild animals and give them the space and respect they deserve and teach people how to avoid adverse interactions.”

Ramsey says she placed her hand on the shark to help steer it away from a nearby boat and other divers.

She said she’s using the rare encounter to raise awareness about shark conservation and protection.

State lawmakers are considering a bill to make it a misdemeanor to own, capture or abuse sharks or rays, dead or alive.

There would be exemptions for cultural practices, research and public protection.

Violators would face up to $10,000 in fines.

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