The lions may have been the ones taunted, but on Thursday Myah Autry is the one who roared.
The woman who was captured on viral video entering the lion’s enclosure at the Bronx Zoo in September spoke to reporters for the first time after a court appearance for a shoplifting charge in Kearny, New Jersey.
Autry’s wild interaction with the media — almost as strange as her interaction with the animals at the zoo — began with her bowing to the reporters as she warmly greeted them with “shalom.”
In an often-rambling, 15-minute session outside the courthouse, Autry said her reasoning for jumping into the lion’s den was “a lot more spiritual” and that she was never afraid while she was in there.
“I fear nobody. No animal, no human, no one. So no, I wasn’t fearing of the lion because the lion loved me. That’s why he came to me and I let the lion know: Lion, I love you,” Autry said.
She said she would never have been injured by the lion, who eyed her as she seemed to dance while across a moat from the ferocious feline, because she and the animal are one.
“I am the lion now. Can’t you tell? Have you ever heard of reincarnation? Do your history young man!” she said before complimenting the reporter’s eyes and smile. “Do your history, it’s called reincarnation. I am the lion now.”
Autry refused to address the shoplifting charge, and is still wanted by the NYPD for a criminal trespassing charge. However, she made it clear she has no ill-will toward the police department.
“I love the NYPD. Hi NYPD,” she said into the camera, adding that she participated in a Police Athletic League and the DARE program for years. When asked if she would eventually turn herself in, Autry said she would but “I do know the law.”
“I don’t have no problem with the law. When we get together law, we will have a good time,” she said.
Autry also said she did not mean to disrespect the lion, who appeared more curious than annoyed for most of the video, before witnesses said it roared.
“I love you lion, hope they treating you right in the zoo. Know Myah love you. I didn’t mean to mistreat you or nothing,” she said. “I seen how you came to me. We connected. To the kids, respect your parents please. Your teachers. Authority.”
No word on if she has the same respect for the giraffe she was seen posing for a photo with inside its den. She did not say when she will turn herself in to the NYPD.
A woman who has known Autry for years previously told NBC New York she is worried about her.
"Myah please get help. I dont know. I don’t know what is wrong with you," said Eunice Walton. "I feel sad because she is like like my child. She is with my daughter since high school."