GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons is no stranger to controversy. After all, he’s the man behind GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads featuring the scantily clad “GoDaddy Girls.” But his latest escapade has crossed the line. On a trip to an African village, he hunted and killed an elephant (note grinning photo on left). He felt compelled to film the killing of this lone elephant, who was brutally targeted out of the familial herd. (Knowing what we do of the family ties and emotional lives of elephants, this is a viciousness beyond the singular heartless cruelty.)
Seemingly oblivious that killing and cruelty isn’t entertaining or a good PR stunt, Parsons posted the video online, with a music track. Naturally, animal lovers are appalled. His video, which you won’t see here, also features villagers, adorned with GoDaddy hats, ripping apart the dead elephant’s flesh.
Parsons defends his trip to Africa to kill, saying the elephant was destroying village crops. Though it’s true that elephants can pose a serious problem for crops, experts agree (and we’re not referring to the internet executive) there are effective non-lethal alternatives for dealing with the issue. (What a visionary this CEO must be to swoop in with a rifle!)
We wonder if this businessman is aware that elephants are being erased from the planet without his help. We wonder, too, if his glee for killing is some profound misunderstanding about manhood. Does this Daddy want to boast to kids that he did his part to drain the world of color and wonder? Some bragging rights.
GoDaddy competitor Namecheap has launched a campaign to woo away offended GoDaddy customers. They can count Global Animal’s team among them. Namecheap is donating 20% of the cost of domain transfers to Save The Elephants on behalf of its new customers. As for GoDaddy, we can’t wait to go elsewhere. – Leah Lessard Jeon, Global Animal
by Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine
We all shoot vacation videos, but most of us choose to keep them to ourselves — or, at worst, share them with our Facebook friends. Bob Parsons, CEO of the Internet-hosting firm GoDaddy.com, which you know from its lame Super Bowl ads and absolutely nothing else — likes bigger exposure. Parsons recently posted a video of his trip to Zimbabwe, where he shot an elephant.
Now, there are so many things wrong with this video that it’s hard to know where to start. First: Is it really appropriate to score a scene of hungry villagers tearing apart a dead elephant to the tune of AC/DC’s “Hells Bells”? And I can’t be the only one who found it creepy that Parsons outfitted nearly everyone in the area with bright orange GoDaddy baseball caps. Not to mention the fact that this all took place in Zimbabwe, a broken country oppressed by the tyrannical Robert Mugabe, where 64% of the population lives under the poverty line and nearly 100% live in fear. This is one step up from taking a spring break in North Korea.
But of course the biggest criticism comes from animal-rights advocates who view Parsons’ video — which shows him shooting and killing an elephant, then standing proudly over its corpse — as, well, showing poor taste. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) singled out Parsons for particular abuse:
I am writing to present you with PETA’s first-ever scummiest CEO of the year award (your certificate is on the way). You deserve the award for your egregious disregard for the life of the elephant you shot and killed for your personal enjoyment. Such behavior only shows a poverty of understanding and a deep insecurity, perhaps in your own masculinity. Nonlethal methods are available to protect crops from elephants left hungry because of their disappearing habitat.
Parsons defended himself on his blog, arguing that his target was a “problem elephant” that had been destroying the crops of a nearby village:
I stand by my decision to help African villagers. I believe elephant management is beneficial. I have the support of the people who really matter in this situation, the families of Zimbabwe — people who need help to survive. I have the support of tribal leaders and the government.
Parsons isn’t totally wrong — there is such a thing as “problem elephants,” and human-elephant conflict is a real issue that needs to be dealt with in parts of Africa. From the World Wildlife Fund (WWF):
Not only are elephants being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, but farmers plant crops that elephants like to eat. As a result, elephants frequently raid and destroy crops. They can be very dangerous too.
While many people in the West regard elephants with affection and admiration, the animals often inspire fear and anger in those who share their land.
Elephants eat up to 450kg of food per day. They are messy eaters, uprooting and scattering as much as is eaten. A single elephant makes light work of a hectare of crops in a very short time.
But that doesn’t mean the best way to deal with this conflict is for rich foreigners like Parsons to make like Hemingway. There are sensible, nonlethal solutions, including using chili- or tobacco-based deterrents to keep elephants out of farmers’ fields, or the simple method of growing crops that elephants don’t like. WWF has more in this issue brief.
(It’s worth remembering that people bear at least as much responsibility as elephants do for any conflict, as the continuing growth of the human population puts more and more pressure on elephant habitats. The African elephant is hardly thriving — the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists it as vulnerable. It’s been a long time since shooting an elephant could be considered fashionable.
Namecheap.com donates to Save the Elephants in Response to the Elephant Hunt
March 31, 2011
Namecheap.com, a leading domain registrar based in Los Angeles, has responded to a recent video showing the CEO of GoDaddy shooting at a parade of elephants in Zimbabwe, killing one. Namecheap has offered a domain transfer special offering all of those disturbed by these actions a cost-effective way to transfer their domains to Namecheap.com. Twenty percent of the revenue generated for each domain transfer is being donated to a charity organization, Save The Elephants.
In the past 24 hours, the social media space was up in arms when the discovery of the video surfaced, bringing GoDaddy to trending topics on Twitter. Said one representative of Namecheap. “All of us at Namecheap were very disturbed by this video. Elephants are an endangered species and hunting these for any reason is something we feel strongly against. Feedback from GoDaddy customers also showed they felt strongly about such practices so we have launched a special offer allowing them to move away from GoDaddy. Our domain transfer special allows you to transfer your com/net/org domains out of GoDaddy for $4.99 using coupon code BYEBYEGD and we will donate 20% from each transfer to Save the Elephants.”
The transfer promotion is running for a limited time, ending at 4/1/11 at 11:59pm EST.
Save the Elephants @ http://www.savetheelephants.org