Go Daddy CEO Kills an Elephant; Tweets About It

Bob Parsons, CEO and Founder of the internet domain registering and web hosting service Go Daddy.com – famous for sexist and vaguely misogynistic commercials - recently posted a video of himself  killing an elephant.

It’s an understatement to say that the reaction has been one of mostly outrage.

PETA, has called on conscious supporters who have websites registered with Go Daddy to switch domains, while internet registering service Namecheap is donating 20% to savetheelephants.org for every new transfer made by end of day on April 1, 2011.

If you’re like most people you may be confused as to how killing an elephant – never mind filming it – could be legal. These large lumbering mammals that can easily consume upwards of 1000 pounds of food a day, communicate ultrasonically, bury their dead, and are a biodiversity keystone species are positioned as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

It has been known since at least 2009 that Zimbabwe has been culling its elephant population of roughly 80,000-100,000 elephants. However, the practice and the method - using rich big game hunters who pay for the privilege of killing the elephants and posing with a picture of their prey (they can’t take home elephant parts as trophies) – has been viewed as uniquely controversial.

While Bob defends his action by arguing that the elephant was a problem elephant, consuming the crops of already hungry villagers, this belies the fact that at least part of the problem is human encroachment (under the Mugabe dictatorship). There are, says the World Wildlife Fund, far less violent methods of dealing with elephant encroachment beginning with planting crops that elephants dislike, and using natural deterrents such as chile pepper.

Since Zimbabwe is benefitting financially from the culls – in addition to taking payment from foreign hunters, they also sell ivory legally to China and Japan – there’s little effort being undertaken to deal with this issue from source. Human encroachment is at least, in part, the reason why elephant populations have become problematic.

All of these issues aside, shooting an elephant and tweeting the video is just in poor taste. It might be hard for a man whose company made its bread and butter objectifying women to recognize the line of taste, but in general killing a sentient animal that moves at an average rate of about 4-miles an hour behind a vague defense of environmental conservation and sustainable development in a country run by a military dictator who kills and enslaves his own people is …weak and definitely not an example of individual or corporate social responsibility.

Photo Credit:Mark Lee