Well, here’s one way to make people forget about your 4-4 record.
On Nov. 1, shortly before 7:00 p.m. ET, a Twitter user named Tom Campbell tweeted this:
The following narrative has been put together from a series of tweets detailing the incident now known as #MonkeyGate.
Jeff Banks was hired by Texas Longhorns’ first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian as a special teams coordinator and tight ends coach earlier this year. Banks is the highest paid coach of his kind in the country, with a salary totaling over $1 million. He has three children from a previous marriage, but is now in a relationship with Dani Banks (unclear whether she is his wife or girlfriend), an exotic dancer professionally known as “Pole Assassin.”
Campbell, whose connection to the source and to Texas football in general is not known, replied to his own tweet with a screenshot of someone named Danielle Banks inviting her Austin neighbors to stop by for a maze and haunted house she had built.
As Campbell’s original tweet began to get attention, more details of the story started coming out as CFB Twitter mobilized for a thorough investigation. Dani Banks’ pet monkey Gia is part of her act, and she also performed on the Jerry Springer show in 2017 (albeit, sans monkey). Dani Banks’ Instagram account @poleassassin_ shows her last name as Thomas, and the monkey also has an Instagram account with over eight thousand followers.
In a move that was almost certainly not approved by the Longhorns’ legal team, Banks/Thomas/Pole Assassin took to Twitter to confirm the story and seemingly place the blame on the child who had been bitten at her home. Her account has since been deleted at some point in the past 12 hours since the story broke, but as anyone who grew up in the Internet age knows, screenshots are forever.
Though the coach himself has yet to speak out, Dani Banks/Thomas took to Twitter to defend herself, initially appearing to deny the entire story and dismiss it as a lie, but later clearing up that a child had, in fact, been bitten, although objecting to the use of the word “viciously.”
When asked, Dani Banks said that the monkey was vaccinated and was an emotional support animal. She then tweeted: “A 11 /12 year old child should know better then (sic) to enter someone (sic) yard without permission and old enough to also follow the rules . The rules were when u get to the gate turn around and come back out for candy every other parent and child did so !”
While one could argue that the “Gate” suffix has been overused for every scandal since the 1970s, it’s actually rather appropriate here as there were several actual gates involved in this incident, as demonstrated by a video posted to Twitter by the haunted house host in question, showing where the monkey was in comparison to the main event (which was, to be fair, quite a ways away).
With all hope that the child and animal are both relatively unharmed and will fully recover, this quickly turned into one of those nights on Twitter where everyone is suddenly a professional comedian. With “Pole Assassin” and #MonkeyGate still trending this morning, Monday Night Football was an afterthought compared to Monday Night Texas football-Halloween-stripper-monkey bite drama.
Both Texas and Banks have yet to make any official statements, and whichever poor PR person is working this one must have drawn the short straw today. There’s probably not a page in the handbook for this one.