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Oh no: The "shark hoax" kid from Jaws is now the police chief of the town where it was filmed

Jonathan Searle must now bear the town's intergenerational shark-hunting burden

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From “Boy Swimmer With Cardboard Fin” to police chief
From “Boy Swimmer With Cardboard Fin” to police chief
Screenshot: MOV Clips

Terrible news has visited the town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts once again. After having its previously friendly waters tainted with the psychic terror of impending shark attacks after Steven Spielberg descended upon the town to film Jaws nearly 50 years ago, Oak Bluffs must now be reminded once again of its monstrous fish nightmare and the citizens who worsened the problem as a child actor from the movie has become its new real-life police chief.

IndieWire reports that Jonathan Searle, who, along with his brother, played the pair of kids swimming around with a fake shark fin and causing mass panic in a scene from Jaws, has now taken over where Martin Brody left off and become Oak Bluffs new police chief. Though we have to hope that he’s learned a thing or two about hunting down killer fish from growing up in the Martha’s Vineyard beach town immortalized as the movie’s Amity Island, we remain concerned about any political process that would entrust a child involved in a shark hoax with such an important position.

To be fair, Searle is more than his role as “Boy Swimmer With Cardboard Fin.” He’s worked for the Edgartown Police Department for decades now and once, perhaps in an attempt to prove that he’s moved on from his dark past, “charged a man with disorderly conduct for lying about having seen sharks in the area in 2008.”


This fact may be cold comfort to the Oak Bluff residents whose imaginations have long been haunted by deadly visits from terrifying apex predators, greedy mayors, and, now, the knowledge that a boy who would take advantage of public terror for a cheap joke is their police chief. Hopefully they can take solace in the fact that, for now at least, their town’s police department isn’t overseen by an actual giant shark.

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