I know that many people do like to shoot things. For some, this is not just pleasure, but necessity.
However, some question why they insist on putting films of these shootings out in public. Who wants to see you singing in the bath with your rubber duck? And who wants to see Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons shooting an elephant and posing proudly over its dead body?
The video--which is neither for the squeamish nor the peckish--shows Parsons gunning down an elephant onin Zimbabwe. He says that it and other elephants were endangering the sorghum crop.
So, one night--and with appropriately dramatic music playing over the footage--Parsons shoots the elephant. Then he later posts the video on his blog, BobParsons.me.
I am sure the man, who enjoys putting scantily clad ladies in his Super Bowl ads, was cheerily aware that this video would be shared far and wide. I am sure, too, that he expected PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) might give him its first "Scummiest CEO of the Year Award." The organization told him, according to ABC 15 in Arizona, "Such behavior shows a poverty of understanding and a deep insecurity, perhaps in your own masculinity."
Indeed, Parsons told MyFoxPhoenix: "I kind of figured that this might happen. So be it, I'm not ashamed of what I did...all these people that are complaining that this shouldn't happen, that these people who are starving to death otherwise shouldn't eat these elephants, you probably see them driving through at McDonald's cutting a steak. These people don't have that option."
The exchanges in the comments section of Parsons' blog have also offered quite some color.
For example, commenter Roxanne Delgado wrote: "What an ugly nasty woman you are to kill an elephant. i hope you die."
To which Parsons replied: "Dear roxanne, I'm not a woman. And for sure, one day your wish will come true. Bob."
Parsons insists that there are simply too many elephants in such places as Zimbabwe and Botswana. In writing of PETA's Scummiest CEO Award for Parsons, PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman said, according to ABC 15, "Nonlethal methods are available to protect crops from elephants left hungry because of their disappearing habitat."
To which Parsons reportedly replied, "You are completely misinformed. Elephants in Africa, especially in the Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa corridor exist in tremendous numbers. They are in absolutely no danger of becoming extinct. The bigger problem is that there is way too many of them."
(In case you wondered, on its Red List of Threatened Species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists African elephants as "Vulnerable," a designation between "Near Threatened" and "Endangered." It also says, "the status of African elephants varies considerably across the species' range." There's more information here.)
Should you choose to watch the video, you will see that Parsons declares (and shows) that the elephant was butchered the next day by local people who were very hungry.
However, there are shots of some of these local people wearing Go Daddy hats. This does make it appear to be as much a strange piece of advertising product placement for Go Daddy as it is a fascinating vacation video about, well, a man's man killing an elephant.
Competitors seem to be seeing this as a commercial too--a commercial opportunity. For example, Namecheap.com is offering domain transfers for a mere $4.99. Of this fee, $1 will go to Save The Elephants. (PETA, by the way, is urging people to drop their Go Daddy accounts and send an e-mail to Parsons.)
Some will wonder whether Parsons might have found a better way of feeding the local people--for example, by wire transfer. No doubt others will wonder whether he chose to release the video precisely because he needed a little publicity for his business.
It will be interesting to see how positively it all turns out.