A stripper defends her emotional support monkey after it was accused of biting a child at a Halloween haunted house.
Danielle Thomas, a stripper who goes by the stage name Pole Assassin, and her emotional support monkey, Gia. Thomas has been dating University of Texas football coach Jeff Banks for the past four and a half years, and her monkey has always been a part of their relationship. However, things took a turn when Gia was involved in an incident on Halloween, where the primate bit a child visiting Thomas’s haunted house in her yard. The incident gained national attention, and it was reported by a USA Today journalist, Tom Campbell, via Twitter.
Thomas is no stranger to the limelight, having previously appeared on the reality show hosted by Jerry Springer with Gia, who has his own Instagram account with 9,000 followers. Thomas has 66,000 followers on her Instagram account. She first got her white-faced capuchin monkey when she was a baby in November 2014.
Banks, Thomas’s boyfriend, was separated from his wife Kori and their three children – daughter, Sydnei, and two sons, Gage and Tanner – in 2017. Only a few months later, he began his relationship with Thomas, and her monkey has always been a part of their relationship.
The monkey attack occurred when a child came to Thomas’s house to engage with the haunted house on Halloween 2021. The monkey was being kept in a cage on the property when it allegedly attacked one of the children visiting the haunted experience. Thomas, however, denies that her monkey attacked the child and claims that the child should not have been near the monkey.
Thomas provided a video clip to show off her haunted house on her lot, where she narrates and explains the incident. She shows the gate that every child and parent was told to turn around at when they got to it. It was closed and blocked off with balloons.
She also shows how far the child went into her backyard without permission and wandered onto the part of the property where the animals live. Thomas explains that she knows all the legal rules on animals and has signs posted, “Do not enter, emotional support animal, no touching.” She questions how Gia could have bitten someone if they didn’t stick their hand where it didn’t belong.
“Here’s the gate, here’s where all the Haunted House action happened,” she said, “Here’s the gate that every child and parent was told to turn around at when they got to. It was closed and blocked off with balloons. This is how far the kid went in my backyard, without permission, all the way over here to where the animals live. And, watch this. I don’t even play when it comes to my animals. And I know all the legal rules on them. Do not enter, emotional support animal, no touching. How could she bite someone if they don’t stick their hand in there, where it doesn’t belong? This is her home and her home only.”
After the incident, Thomas deleted her social media accounts, but before doing so, she turned to Twitter to deny that her monkey attacked a child. She tweeted, “I had a haunted house on one side gated off/ he had no permission to go past the gate I had no idea he went in my backyard. Neither did I know anything about a bite! Until a doctor of the neighborhood told me the treat a small bite. No parent has contacted me about it!”
The incident has raised questions about the ownership of exotic animals and their suitability as emotional support animals. While the debate continues, Thomas’s monkey remains a part of her life and her relationship with Banks.