Model Attacked by Shark During Photo Shoot — Was It Real or Just a Stunt?

Model Molly Cavalli is shown being attacked by a lemon shark in a recently uploaded video, but some wonder if the clip is merely a staged stunt. (Photo: YouTube)

A video of a model being attacked by a shark is making waves on the Internet, with some doubting its veracity.

Adult entertainer Molly Cavalli was apparently bitten by a shark while cage diving for a photo shoot. The stunt was in promotion of the adult webcam service Cam Soda. The clip of the attack has since been viewed on YouTube more than 7 million times.

“The underwater broadcast had to be cut short when Molly’s foot stuck out of the cage and was bitten by a lemon shark,” reads the video’s description on YouTube. “Don’t worry though, Molly is doing just fine. She had to get 20 stitches, but she is in good spirits and grateful for her quick recovery.”

In the footage, Cavalli is wearing swim fins when she is supposedly bitten, prompting the question of how a shark could bite through the rubber material and leave behind a huge gash. As she’s hauled out of the cage, she no longer appears to be wearing her fins.

Freeze frames of the moments after, compared side by side, appear to show two different wounds — one smaller and one larger.

Cam Soda vice president Darren Press speaking to the Daily Star explained how the incident happened. “Our intention was to have Molly quickly dive into the shark cage with the camera and begin broadcasting as lemon sharks circled nearby.”

“From what we gathered, lemon sharks are predominantly docile and relatively harmless. During the broadcast, a shark approached the cage, which made Molly nervous. She swam up to the surface as the shark approached. Her foot rose above the protective net and was bitten.”

Lemon sharks typically prey on fish, squid, rays, crustaceans, and some seabirds. The International Shark Attack File has only 10 registered incidents of humans being bitten by lemon sharks. None of the attacks were fatal.

“Well, the lesion looks pretty real; it just doesn’t look like a shark bite” said Samuel Gruber, PhD, an expert on lemon sharks at the Bimini Shark Lab, in a telephone interview. After watching the video Gruber said he believed that “there are some aspects that look staged to me, you would need to find out the medical treatment she received.”

Gruber confirms that the sharks in the video are in fact lemon sharks, but he is puzzled how someone in a cage was bitten and not one of the divers outside of it were. “There’s a guy outside the cage and we don’t see a picture of it [the bite]. I don’t see how he could have missed that shot,” said Gruber.

On the question of whether a lemon shark could have bitten through the rubber of a swim fin, Gruber said, “I don’t believe so.” But ultimately in his analysis there isn’t enough information to confirm or deny the attack. “The cage is very wide,” he said. “It looks like a shark could get his head in there. Why he would, I don’t know.”

Gruber also pointed out the lemon shark has very narrow rows of thin teeth, ones unlikely to produce such a large open wound. “The teeth are very close together, just a couple of millimeters apart,” he said.

Gruber himself has been bitten by a lemon shark. “There have been thousands of people that have dived with lemon sharks with no problems. And this woman was in a cage and she got bitten,” he said. He admitted, however, “It could be a shark got in there, got scared, and bit her.”

Cavalli took to Instagram to address the attack saying: “Thanks for your well wishes guys. I’m totally fine. It’s not as bad as it seems. Im healing quickly. It was still an amazing experience. Much love to my @camsoda team for taking good care of me. ????????????”


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