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GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons under fire for Zimbabwe elephant-hunting video

GoDaddy.com CEO and founder Bob Parsons, right, and his wife Renee pose on the red carpet at a recent event. GoDaddy.com Chief Executive Bob Parsons has been drawing angry comments and threats of boycotts and cancellations after he posted a video of him killing a problem bull elephant during a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe.

The video (viewer discretion advised due to graphic content) shows the CEO and his hunting party looking over a farmer's damaged crops, shooting at elephants at night, and Parsons posing with the dead bull. It also shows crowds of villagers field dressing the carcass the next morning.

"I kind of figured that this might happen. So be it, I'm not ashamed of what I did," Parsons, whose Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company provides domain and Web hosting services, told myFoxPhoenix Tuesday. "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 or cutting a steak. These people [Zimbabwe villagers] don't have that option."

While a preponderance of the comments posted on Parsons' website blog were negative, he has his proponents.

"As long as it goes to good use as food then it's all good," posted Chad from Texas; "I'm sure local villagers appreciated the protein," wrote Alan Dean Foster of Arizona; and, from Jonathan Mackenzie of Zimbabwe, "As a Zimbabwean who has worked in ... areas where the necessity to kill [rogue] animals takes place I appreciate your actions regardless of your motivations."

Parsons posts an explanation on his hunts -- this was his second -- to take out problem elephants:

I spend a few weeks in Zimbabwe each year helping the farmers deal with problem elephants. The people there have very little, many die each year from starvation and one of the problems they have is the elephants, of which there are thousands and thousands, that trash many of their fields destroying the crops. The tribal authorities request that I and others like me, patrol the fields before and during the harvest -- we can't cover them all, there are just a few of us -- and drive the elephant from the fields. The farmers try to run the elephants away by cracking whips, beating drums and lighting fires. All of this is ignored by the elephants. When my team catch elephants in a field (there are never just one) we typically kill one of them and the rest leave for good. After we kill an elephant the people butcher the elephant and it feeds a number of villages. These people have literally nothing and when an elephant is killed it's a big event for them, they are going to be able to eat some protein. This is no different than you or I eating beef. If at all possible we avoid elephant cows and only kill mature bulls. By just killing bulls it has no effect on the elephant social structure (as it is matriarchal) as well as the herd size. The reason is another bull quickly steps up and breeds in place of the bull taken.

Parsons said that the hunts and helping the starving villagers is the most rewarding of everything he does, and that he hopes to go again next year.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: GoDaddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons, right, and his wife Renee pose on the red carpet at a recent event. Credit: Roy Dabner / European Pressphoto Agency


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Comments (78)

I am too tired to write much, but people need to get the hell over this. Animals are killed for food every day, be it by humans, or OTHER animals (yes we are animals, who would have thunk it?) STOP bitching about one guy killing a elephant, and then starving villagers getting nutrition from it. This is ridiculous that people are making such a big deal out of this.

All the Los Angeles city dwellers who are getting red in the face over this should stop being hypocrites and do something REAL.
Do you have a lawn?
Rip it out and put in native plants or gravel.
Do any of your neighbors, friends, relatives, or clients have a lawn?
Get right in their face and scream that you will boycott them forever if they don't rip out their lawn AND drain their swimming pool.
Also, quit flushing your toilets and get a fully-contained DRY septic system.
The massive environmental disaster that IS the city of Los Angeles is perpetuated by every one of you.
Its laughable that you condemn something you know nothing about in Africa, when an African-quality ecosystem existed just a few hundred years ago right in the middle of what is Los Angeles now.

This article is so one-sided..you don't even mention what some of his opponents are saying about this, only comments made by his supporters! I wonder how much money he paid you to write this load of crap. He killed the elephant for his own sick pleasure..not the for the villagers. He's a billionaire, he could feed everyone in the village for a whole year if he wanted to. He's an egotistical, womanizing, fat-head. Here's the real deal.


Elephants are intelligent, and many ways like humans - killing an elephant is not much different, to me, than killing a human. I read somewhere that he wants to go do it again next year?

Currently my domains are at godaddy because I don't have the money to get them out - when I have the money, I will get them out.

Is there a "put godaddy out of business" club? How do I sign up?

I find him disgusting. It was bad enough degrading women, having to watch his lame commercials depicting women as bimbos for sale...but hey the women he degraded had choices on his website, vlogs or his commercials...and they chose and were paid. But this FEMALE elephant happened to be in the wrong place at the right time for this-creep. If Bob really wanted to do something for the village he would take his quoted "60,000-70,000 dollars" he spent to kill something he corralled at point blank range and could saved the entire village for eons to come with that amount of money. he could have a huge permanent fence built around the whole village...it is just too bad "the trampling" didn't trample him...we can only hope...maybe next time the elephant wins ~ course someone could push him in the way to help out a bit
- gotta move my accounts off of this lame GD

I live in Southern Africa and have been party to numerous hunts on antelope only since 1993. The general opinion in the hunting fraternity is that any hunting must be ethical and viable for the general community. Local hunters have a policy if "you can't eat it don't shoot it". Many people come from wealthier countries just to shoot trophies. The meat is then eaten so it is not wasted. Some countries are so poor they cannot afford to relocate destructive Elephants so the only way to deal with the problem is get experts in to very selectively remove the problem animals. This is a very emotional issue but sometimes cannot be dealt with any other way. I am not in favour of the big macho last of the great hunter attitude, this must be sealt with very discreetly and sensitively. We as humans caused the problem by building fences and encroaching on these animals habitat due to population growth.

I call BOYCOTT! Find us on facebook: "Boycott GoDaddy and their Elephant Slaughtering CEO" ...join the group and take your $$$ out of that ignorant mans pockets!!!!

I'm not understanding the issue. Even if it was an excuse to have fun....who cares? It was apparently an animal that needed to be killed in that area anyway?

Come on, if what he says is true about the elephants, let him have some fun.

Seems like a good cause for Anonymous to step up to the plate....

Now the insensitiv­ity of the Go.Daddy commercial­s are starting to make sense. Making fun of effeminate men and using the stereotypi­cal female models to flaunt the bags on silicone they have had sewn on their chest.

Am guessing misogyny goes hand in hand with the need for a pathetic, insecure, fat, old man to reassert his fragile masculinit­y by taking the life of a standing animal that offers no sport. The gutless wonder even had to shoot the poor elephant at night. Good thing the elephant hadn't sneezed before being shot or Bob would probably still be running across Africa in soiled pants. This wimp was transporte­d close enough to take his shot and then transporte­d back to his five star abode. The funny part is how he has deluded himself into thinking he is some kind of big game hunter when in reality he is nothing more than a rich jerk that uses his wealth to destroy rather than for good and now a fine animal has lost it's life simply so a sycophant can feed his fragile ego.

As we previously mentioned, this explains a lot when it comes to the type of commercials he puts out. Thankfully­, most companies are wise enough to appeal to our greater instincts but there are those few scummy organizations that are so limited in imagination that they can only think of appealing to our lowest instincts. This speaks to the shallownes­s and limited imaginatio­n of Bob Parsons. He really thinks he's some kind of smart businessman? Hardly. Instead of forging new roads with an innovative creative process, his sexist commercials ride the coat tails of those who have gone on before him as he drags out the same tired old commercial styling that was appropriat­e twenty years ago but are a mere yawn in the 21st century.

While it is probably true that this was blown out of proportion. I still see this as just an excuse for him to shoot an Elephant. He might as well use the excuse its for scientific purposes. I am glad he helps out third world populations but I think he could have invested in this village by getting them either structures and fencing or by means to increase harvest yield without the need to go kill an elephant. He says that all of the meat and skin was used, Was the Ivory tusks sold to help the Village? If so it could only be sold to the Black Market as it would be Illegal to export? I am sure anything goes in Zimbabwe if you have the money, I am actually surprised though that they let him in to do charity work, it's not like it's Rhodesia anymore. While I support his charity endeavors I don't totally buy the justification or reasoning.

Bob Parsons went on a hunt
Bob Parsons pulled a little stunt
On behest of the locals
Flashbulbs and focals
Bob Parsons bagged an old elephant.

Wow, I bet the performance on my shared hosting account get even better after all you idiots leave. Where do you think your food comes from? How was that veal you had last week? Have you ever checked into how the baby calves are treated before they are KILLED to feed you? Or better yet check into how the commercial beef feedlots are operated right here in the good ol' US of A. If you do take the time to look into it you will never want to eat meat again.

Hey Bob can I go with ya next year? I don't want to go to help any body I just want to shoot something really big...

Instead of giving us 20% r 30% discounts to renew domain with your company charges us more and say ur helping people get food, we wil not stop buying from you.

why go kill, smile and photograph the event, you guys must be nuts man

Which are the animals?

I'll be closing my GoDaddy account.

I have been to Africa including Zimbabwe may times. The general thinking of the African people is "if it pays it stays". I saw a lot of poaching and indiscriminate snaring of all animals including elephants by the locals. The hunters provide valuable money in the local economy. This incentifies the local tribes to protect this resource. Please research this before you make statements that are not accurate or just based on emotion.

This poor man must have a small...well, if he needs to compensate this way, by showing off his big gun and the big animals that he can kill with it.

Lol, you animal worshipers are so confused.

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa. It's farming problems are not elephants...only political.

Hey instead of killing animals, why not use all your wonderful money to help build better fences, plant more crops. Give to the helpless communities you love so much. Be honest at least, you killed for sport, and just because the meat helped the villages in the surrounding areas doesn't mean your intentions were good for the environment. Its people like you, if you heartless man ever read this, that are killing beautiful creatures and harming the natural way of life.

YOU ARE DISGUSTING!! Nothing justifies what you did. Imagine the reverse scenario...........

Who do you think you're kidding! The next time you go on your barbaric "He-man" blood sport I hope you get stampeded by a herd of elephants.

i think its disgusting to kill a elephant!use the money to help the villiage to keep them out in otherways,and help with food drops!he is just trying to justify his killing and he cant.i am from alaska and lots of hunting goes on here and i would like to say here hunting at night with flashlights or most likly it was a spot light that blinds the animal so you can shoot it is illegal.it does not make it much of a sport and its just bobs way to boost his ego.shame!shame!shame!

Way to spin that story, Kelly.

An exclusive phone interview with Bob Parsons http://bit­.ly/hdSAcC as he discusses the issue further.



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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.