Go Daddy CEO: I was smiling with dead elephant out of 'relief'
Media war between Go Daddy's Bob Parsons and animal rights activists escalates after he posts his elephant-killing video. Parsons insists his act was righteous and he was smiling because he was relieved.
Once you post a video of yourself shooting an elephant dead--especially if you happen to accompany that video with AC/DC's "Hell's Bells"--you might anticipate a little more excitement.
So it has proved.
Should you have been unaccountably detained by the Mounties, you might not know that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons adorned his blog with.
The video wasn't entirely suitable for lunch and explained that the elephants eat sorghum that is sorely needed by starving Zimbabwean villagers.
Naturally, animal activist group PETA rebutted Parsons and was appalled that he didn't use non-killing methods to shoo the elephants away.
Moreover, his pose in the video, in which he does rather resemble a happy hunter who has shot the big one, did allow for an interpretation that Parsons' actions weren't entirely humanitarian.
Today, Parsons explained his smile to Mashable. He said: "When you see me smiling in that picture, I'm smiling because I'm relieved no one was hurt, that the crop was saved, and that these people were going to be fed--the type of smile when you get a good report card or achieve a goal."
Who can judge whether Parsons is telling the truth or attempting to divert the winds of potential damage to his company? Although he doesn't seem to think they'll be any damage at all.
He told CBS News.com: "I expect sales will go up. The reason is that first of all, the average American is a very good individual who understands that people need to eat. They know there is a circle of life and they don't much care for political correctness. When they see this, people who are not familiar with GoDaddy will check us out. It'll be a good thing."
He also told CBS News.com that people love him in Zimbabwe: "You talk about appreciative! When I go (to Zimbabwe) they can't thank me enough and they greet me with open arms."
Parsons, feeling a little bull elephantish about all this, hasn't stopped there. He has taken to his Twitter account, where he has expressed some enjoyment about his battle with PETA.
You see, PETA had given him the title of "Scummiest CEO of the Year" award. So Parsons linked to a site claiming that 95 percent of animals in PETA's care were killed.
PETA countered by tweeting: "Site is work of the deceitfully named CCF, a front group 4 Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse & KFC: http://ht.ly/1EQws."
Meanwhile, comedian Cloris Leachman decided to weigh in on her Twitter feed, where she offered: "Takes more balls to care for and love an elephant than it is to shoot it."
She also offered a link, which went to the site of Network Solutions, a competitor for whom Leachman is a spokesperson and for whom she happens to do ads that mock--yes, truly--Go Daddy's ads.
Leachman is, though, also a PETA supporter and has been for a while.
So suddenly we are thrust into a world in which charitable causes and commercial entities fight for your emotions, like hairdressers competing on "The Bachelor."
Should one believe that Parsons had no idea that his video might enjoy a little friction? Should one examine more closely the validity of PETA's claims? Should one wonder just how much damage Parsons' apparent bravado might cause the perhaps neutrally-regarded (save at Super Bowl time) GoDaddy brand?
I can offer what I know for sure--that my own twisted genetics don't make me smile when I'm relieved. I tend to breathe a little more deeply and, um, want to sit down somewhere quiet.
However, it might well be that somewhere quiet is not Parsons' preferred place of relief.