Michael Holston aka The Real Tarzann has been arrested in Miami and accused of burglary and assault. The exact charges facing Holston, 26, have not been made public.
TMZ was the first to report on Holston’s arrest on the morning of August 10. Online records show that Holston was taken into custody on August 9. At the time of writing, his bail has been set at $6,500. Holston is being held at Turner Guildford Knight Correctional Center.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Holston Has Been Ordered to Stay Away From 2 Men: Hector Zelaya & Jason Leon
WPLG reports that Holston has been ordered to stay away from two men, named as Hector Zelaya and Jason Leon.
According to Hollywood Unlocked, Holston is being held in relation to three counts of burglary and battery, one of which is a felony charge.
2. Holston’s Last Video Prior to His Arrest Titled, ‘GETTING MY AFRICAN WARRIOR BATTLE STRIPES’
Holston is a YouTube and social media influencer who posts videos of him with various exotic animals including giraffes, lions and sharks. On his YouTube channel, Holston has more than 500,000 subscribers. Holston’s video was uploaded on August 3, a week before his arrest. That video was titled, “GETTING MY AFRICAN WARRIOR BATTLE STRIPES.”
Three days before his arrest, Holston posted a photo to Instagram with the caption, “Random clips ??
About to hit 6million followers soon ?! Got some big surprises for you guys and tons of updates ! ? Don’t blink ! ?.” Holston has 5.8 million followers at the time of writing.
3. Holston Has Been Accused of ‘Promoting Mishandling & Inappropriate Care’ of a Chimpanzee
In April 2019, a viral video helped to make Holston something of a household name. A controversial clip showed a chimpanzee scrolling through Holston’s Instagram page. The video was roundly criticized.
In a statement, Jane Goodall, one of the most prominent chimpanzee activists, criticized Holston’s role in the video. Goodall said of Holston, “Mike Holston “@The Real Tarzann,” who promotes mishandling and inappropriate captive care of Limbani and this video across his significant social media platform.” Goodall went on to say that videos such as that promoted the idea that chimps make “cute pets” rather than the “extremely intelligent and have complex emotions like humans.” Goodall also called the video an “awful portrayal of a captive live juvenile chimpanzee.”
A petition has been set up in an attempt to have Holston stop practicing what is referred to as “animal cruelty.”
4. Holston Has Also Been Called: ‘The Next Steve Irwin’
A November 2017 Uproxx feature on Holston referred to him as “The Next Steve Irwin.” Holston told the website, “Day in and day out I strive like many others just to accomplish the things Irwin has done for our wildlife and planet! I always wanted to be like him… and I still do!” Holston says in the interview that he works as a zookeeper at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami.
Holston also said that he works as a part-time zoology and biology school. Holston then said one of his goals of teaching was to help kids to get over their fears of certain animals.
5. Holston Received Favorable Media Coverage in 2018 When He Saved the Lives of 233 Freezing Iguanas
In January 2018, Holston attracted more positive news coverage when he saved the lives of 233 iguanas from freezing cold water in South Florida. WSVN reported that some of the iguanas were as much as six feet long. When asked by the station about what his plan was for the animals, Holston said that people all over the world have volunteered to adopt them through his Instagram page. Holston added, “They get homes, every single one of them.”
Two weeks before his August 2019 arrest, Holston posted a video to his Instagram page showing him catching green iguanas as they fell out of a tree. During the summer months, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that homeowners are allowed to kill green iguanas without a permit as they are viewed as an invasive species.