The embedded video from GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons (which is graphic and plays automatically, sorry), shows him on vacation in Zimbabwe hunting elephants.
The GoDaddy CEO explains that for the second year in a row, he spent ten days “hunting problem elephant in Zimbabwe. Of everything I do this is the most rewarding.” The elephants being hunted had been destroying the crops of local villagers.
Parsons sensitively scores the scene of hungry villagers tearing apart the killed elephant to the AC/DC track “Hell’s Bells”. It’s also pretty bizarre that Parsons obviously gave a lot of people in the scene baseball caps with the GoDaddy logo on it.
The video has caused widespread outrage on the web. A search for GoDaddy on Twitter at the time of writing reveals the extent of the online damage. It also made GoDaddy a trending topic on Google.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has seen fit to present Parsons with a message naming him as PETA’s first-ever scummiest CEO of the year. His certificate is apparently on the way. Needless to say, PETA has closed its account with GoDaddy and is encouraging others to do the same.
Parsons has defended his actions, saying that he was helping African villagers and believes elephant management is beneficial. He says he has the support of the families of Zimbabwe, tribal leaders, and the government. That would be Robert Mugabe’s government he says he has the support of.
In terms of the real issues of problem elephants (for humans) and human-elephant conflict, WWF says that elephants are being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas as human populations rise, and farmers plant crops that elephants like to eat. Consequently, elephants do raid crops, and can also be dangerous to humans. Elephants eat up to 450kg of food per day and can go through a field of crops in a very short time.
However, according to WWF, there are ways of keeping elephants away from farms other than shooting them – including using chili and tobacco-based deterrents, and growing crops that elephants aren’t keen on.
In any case, should CEOs from US companies go in and shoot problem elephants on their vacation time, because they obviously enjoy doing so, in the belief they are helping local villagers protect their crops? What are your thoughts?
Parsons’ full explanation of his actions is online here.