CAUTION DISTURBING VIDEO: GoDaddy CEO Shoots Elephant, Injures Brand — Who Thinks of The Hungry People?

I’m having to take a coffee break from work to publish this blog cause I am blown away by this story. I’ll remind everyone again this blog has no connection to my job.

With the amount of social media I partake in, it’s no surprise that I occasionally catch a blog post soon after it appears. That was the case today with a post to Mashable that included a video. Please note THIS VIDEO IS GRAPHIC ABOUT HUNTING, ANIMAL SLAUGHTER and the desperation of hunger. It evokes a number of emotions.

The blog post from Mashable says: 

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons may have achieved a new social media equivalent of jumping the shark. Call it “shooting the elephant.”

A video of Parsons shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe is making the rounds Thursday, causing the domain registry company to become a Google Hot Topic and the subject of criticism. Leading the charge is PETA, the animal rights group, which has closed its account with GoDaddy and is asking others to follow suit. Parsons, a Vietnam vet known for his brash image, brought on the publicity by himself by posting the video on his blog.

The video shows the damage elephants caused by trampling a farmer’s sorghum field. Parsons and his fellow hunters then waited at night for the elephants to return and Parsons shoots and kills one of the elephants. Dozens of villagers then come to pick off the elephant’s meat.

via GoDaddy CEO Shoots Elephant, Injures Brand.

Now, I assume the hunt was all legal and that elephants are not endangered. I also can’t imagine having to deal with something like that trampling down crops! Suddenly a herd of deer or group of wild hogs moving through seem inconsequential almost. But I also am astounded by the reaction. The fact that the only response that was being seen when Mashable posted this was criticism for the hunt. (Please note, Mashable is not criticizing, merely reporting the backlash.)

Here’s what I think:

  • Maybe this wasn’t the brightest use of GoDaddy’s head honcho’s vacation video, etc unless there was a goal of raising attention in hunting and drawing criticism from animal rights groups. But I think it’s a hunting video like many I’ve seen involving other animals that became dinner for someone.
  • I picture elephants as beautiful, majestic animals. They are also work animals in some places. But I can’t imagine elephants just ripping through fields. Obviously, my picture and the reality of others don’t match up.
  • The farmers in other parts of the world face unbelievably difficult issues and most do it without any sort of insurance, etc. And significant numbers of farmers are close to starvation. They need help from a variety of areas.
  • When you live at subsistence levels, my guess is you can’t afford the sort of guns you’d need to take down an elephant so I’m sure there is a demand for this to be done.
  • Maybe the ball caps GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons are out of place. It looks like its meant as an ad. But in reality, I have been to places in the world where the poverty is significant and handed out all sorts of things, including the clothes I had been wearing on the trip. I have to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
  • The fact that the hunt produced food for people who are so hungry they are willing to fight their neighbors for it tears me up. That sense of desperation is something I have never known and hope none of my family and friends do.
  • I also hope solutions to the issue hunger are in the works well beyond this one elephant bull hunt. These people deserve food.
  • I will be leaving my blog, domains, etc where they are and there is no way I would want to move them to a place so opportunistically viewing the video that shows such utter poverty and hunger.

What do you think?

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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22 Responses to CAUTION DISTURBING VIDEO: GoDaddy CEO Shoots Elephant, Injures Brand — Who Thinks of The Hungry People?

  1. daringrimm March 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I have no idea whether this individual was doing the right thing in this hunt, passing out caps or whatever. I do appreciate some thoughtful perspective on the issue instead of the raging piling on that seems to be raging in social media right now.

    I mean step back, relax, BREATHE people!

  2. SlowMoneyFarm March 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    My godaddy sites and domains will remain right where they are.

  3. Beth March 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    As a public relations profession who works in agriculture, I can’t help but laugh as I watch this. When put in to proper perspective, this team of hunters is helping not just farmers, but entire villages in a very poor part of the world. But this cheesy, poorly thought out video is ridiculous!

    This is a good lesson for those of us who complain about farmers being misunderstood by the average consumer. People only know what you tell them. If you tell them that you hunt elephants to feed hungry people and save crops (which also feed hungry people), they may understand. But if you paint yourself as a macho bully who takes down animals to an embarrassing sound track and then watch while people less fortunate than yourself fight for food … well, you just end up looking like an ass.

    Parsons didn’t just hurt his own image. This video hurts all of production agriculture.

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Beth, I think its the sort of video that folks may do for friends or something but agree, the use of the text, the music, etc are all just bad. What really bothers me is it trending on twitter because people want to save the elephants and an opportunist company making a special offer to get new clients — the offer wasn’t the help feed hungry people but is to protect elephants. The whole thing is ludicrous.

  4. john blue March 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Bob Parsons is known for driving the edge. Look at GoDaddy Girls and related videos… The elephant video is hosted on a GoDaddy service (Video.Me) and Bob some how traveled with a case of GoDaddy hats to hand out… There is a bit or marketing bravado going on with the presentation (watch with sound off and then with sound on:) . He knew there would be a bunch of criticism and I am certain GoDaddy brand will not be hurt.

    Ironically I just moved the Truffle main web site off GoDaddy today, but not for this video. No, I had to because our GoDaddy hosting plan was toooooooo fricken slooooowwwwwww. I will still use GoDaddy for domain registration and some hosting on other projects.

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      Interesting timing on the move. The guy likes to more than push the envelope and the poor video is another way of drawing attention. I think he sort of dared the groups to say something because rational people see the hunger and farmers’ side as much as they do the save the elephants’ faction. Wish we could get that sort of realization in agricultural conversations in the mainstream world. But then I guess, that’s why a lot of us sink lots of personal hours into social media and other conversations.

  5. Bob Kinford March 31, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    This shows just how much disconnect there is between people and reality. It shows Bob Parsons lack of knowledge about how people (who have never had to grow or kill their own food) would find so much contempt for him and his company for killing the elephant.

    It also shows the total lack of reality on the part of the poster who want to either relocate the elephants or fence them out (As bad as elk can trash a fence, can you imagine trying to keep elephants out).

    None of the people who are speaking out against this action seem to give a tinkers dang about the people whose crops were being trampled , or the hungry people salvaging the meat. The scariest part of this are those claiming that humanity is ruining the earth, and that the elephants have the same rights (or more) than the people….

    This just goes to show we really need to get it across to people not only that their food is grown, but how much work goes into the task!

    • JPlovesCOTTON April 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      Thanks Bob for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree we need to continue helping people understand the challenges of food & hunger.

  6. Ryan Goodman March 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Maybe I’m just different, but take away the text and the music, and I see something ranchers can relate to. I know here we deal with coyotes and buzzards that will pick at newborn calves or an injured cow. So when the need arises we take aim to thin out the population. Same in some areas where elk can come in and wipe out entire forage stands ranchers depend on to graze their cattle. Sometimes we have to take action to protect our interests. Granted this video may not have meant to portray that with the soundtrack and text.

    • JPlovesCOTTON April 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      Agree totally Ryan. Without some of the added effects, it seems like it could have simply been a hunting or farm video that nobody would have seen. With the addition of the hunger component, things shift a bit too.

  7. Mike Haley April 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm #


    I have thought about this a lot in the past 24 hours since I watched the video.

    Personally I do not use GoDaddy, and right now I am proud of it. After watching this video it looks like Bob Parson’s is just after the kill. He uses the excuse that crops were being destroyed and people were hungry to justify his need to kill, so I feel that Parson’s is just taking advantage of the hungry and destroyed crops as a reason to kill.

    With that said, I do not see this as a canned hunt as HSUS is trying to present it as. People are clearly starving in Zimbabwe and these elephants are overpopulated and destroying their crops. Hunting the elephant as Parson’s did is probably the most ethical way to render the issue. I have no problem with a humane and ethical hunt, but Instead of highlighting the necessity for food, Parsons highlighted the glamor of killing an animal. Perhaps Parsons is more like the hunters that I know that love and respect wildlife, but the way he presents himself is disgusting to me.

    • JPlovesCOTTON April 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      I haven’t been able to shake this either. The way the info is presented is weird. The immediate reaction of people to focus on the elephant kill bothered me a lot. The fact that a guy who spends tens of thousands of dollars to go there isn’t something that makes me so irritated. The story is obviously meant to show Parsons as a manly man and who also wants to do good. I don’t know if he’s either. I do know there are a lot of people in various parts of the world who are starving and we need more people focused on real solutions – and no elephant hunting is not my suggestion for that.

  8. Katie on the prairie April 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I have watched video. I agree with above comments in that I don’t agree with the marketing, music or way it was presented. I think points are being missed in terms of feeding a starving population, saving a farmer’s crops and the overpopulation of elephants. We have a good friend who has paid thousands of dollars for an elephant hunt in Africa. He was lead by a guide and a specific sterile bull elephant was targeted in the hunt. The government has targeted the sterile bull elephants to be eliminated. I support that type of a hunt our friend did as it does feed the villagers and saves their crops from the damage the sterile bull elephant was causing. He didn’t create an edited video for show. Instead he came home with a strong tie to Africa, wanting to go back to hunt again and help its people.

    • JPlovesCOTTON April 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks Katie. I have to say I’d love to sit done & visit with your friend. What’s interesting Katie as I saw an interview with Parsons today and he has been making trips to Zimbabwe for 6 years. I am amazed by the immediate backlash and think Americans have gotten to where we think of too many things in absolutes. And we fail to think about the things that matter some times.

  9. Eland April 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    That elephant could have just as easily trampled the villagers huts as the crops.

  10. Kathy April 2, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Bob Parsons is quite the interesting fellow. He also blogs about SEO, web marketing, etc. as a part of his empire. I have followed it regularly and to say he is a bit flamboyant and eccentric is probably accurate. This video falls right in line with the style of what he does and how he presents topics. I would be curious to know what his regular blog readers have to say. I, personally, knowing what I have seen from him in the past, am not surprised by what I saw. He also seems like the type that doesn’t care what anyone else would think either.

    • JPlovesCOTTON April 3, 2011 at 12:56 am #

      I should have know you had the inside track & have been following him for a while.

      • Kathy April 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        LOL Janice! As a dedicated #agnerd, I always love from others in the industry.

  11. john Blue April 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    And the elephant story continues: CNN interview with Bob Parsons

    He is getting his GoDaddy name out there;)

    Unrelated, but wild animal centric, have you followed the buzz on the BronxZoosCobra? . Could Bob have help sponsor the search for the cobra and gotten the press plus less heat due to hunting elephants?

  12. Bob Kinford April 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    It is interesting to see both ends of the spectrum. We have all watched this video of Bob Parsons killing the elephant. If you think emotionally based responses from animal rights people were going a bit overboard, visit

    What makes this site really bad, is that the man who runs it is a college philosophy professor instilling his beliefs in college students. I could just see me in his class…

What are you thinking?