Ota Benga was a pygmy, who in 1904, was kidnapped from his wife and two children in the Congo.
I believe his wife and two children were slaughtered by the Force Publique.
He was exhibited as an apeman at the St Louis World Fair and the Bronx Zoo.
I'm not sure he was exhibited as an apeman at the World Fair, he interacted with visitors and charged them 5 cents to see his ceremonially pointed teeth.
As for the Bronx Zoo, he was exhibited there as
quote:The African Pigmy, "Ota Benga."
Not as an apeman.
Because of being caged, fed and treated like an animal, Benga committed suicide.
That's certainly an interesting account. Do you have a source for it? I see no record of him being kept in a cage or treated like an animal (treated very poorly, maybe, like a slave perhaps).
The account I see is that he gained the beginnings of an education, went to work at a tobacco factory and at the outbreak of WWI grew depressed at his declining probability of ever returning home and then he killed himself.
It was later discovered that Benga was actually a human being.
They may have thought of him as 'very low in the human scale', but human they thought him. That's why slavers took him. That's why Verner freed him. That's why they weren't surprised when he spoke English.
I have a feeling you've been told this story by someone who wanted you to believe something they couldn't convince you of honestly, and you believed it without double checking the facts because of some bias or another of yours. Take a read of this and if you still think this constitutes a 'scientific hoax' rather than 'an example of the scientific racism that took hold in the mid to late 19th Century' then you can provide your sources that show an actual hoax being perpetrated.