GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons may need a lesson in online reputation management. Lesson 1: Don't kill elephants. Lesson 2: If you do kill an elephant, don't post a video about it on the web. 3: If you do kill an elephant and post a video about it on the web, and then tweet it out to 33,000 followers. Really lesson 1 solves them all, but now he's learning the hard way as the controversy has taken the web by storm.
GoDaddy is no stranger to controversy. That's for sure. This is a whole new kind of controversy though. The following video says it all (warning: it's graphic):
The video begins with the text, "Of everything I do this is the most rewarding. This video shows one typical night and day."
"Damage is extensive. Unless elephant are stopped entire crop may be lost," the captions in the video say. "When crops are lost subsistence farmers risk starvation."
"Bob Parsons fires first," they later proclaim. "Bob Parsons fires again. Both shots hit home. "One bull is killed. The rest stampede out of the field unhurt."
Then it goes to a series of still photos of Parsons posing proudly with the dead elephant. "Early the next morning hungry villagers butcher the elephant," it then reads, before cutting to footage of the villagers butchering the animal while AC/DC plays over it. Some villagers wear GoDaddy hats.
He even tweeted it. Brilliant.
The video currently has over 20,000 views, with many more sure to come. You can wade through pages of comments here. Many people say they will be pulling their sites from GoDaddy. Even PETA was using GoDaddy, and is obviously putting a stop to that. PETA, points out that Parsons has also killed a leopard.
It has been well established that elephants are capable of experiencing emotions, including joy, anger, grief, and sympathy. They play with each other and can reason and use tools; they have exceptional memories and form enduring bonds with other elephants. They work together and comfort and protect each other. Elephant offspring stay with their mothers for many years—males for up to 15 years and females for their entire lives. Killing a single elephant can devastate a family, and their mourning ritual over the death of a family member rivals any that we humans have developed.
Parsons is hiding behind the lame claim that killing elephants helps farmers in Africa whose crops are damaged by the animals. In fact, there are ample effective and nonlethal methods to deter elephants from crops, including using chili-infused string and beehives on poles to create low-cost "fences." Instead of coming up with flimsy excuses for killing these highly intelligent and social animals, Parsons should use his wealth to fund humane solutions to human/elephant conflicts.
Oh yeah, and lesson 4: don't post videos of leopard killing to the web. And lesson 5: Issue a company press release following the uproar. So far there hasn't been one posted to the GoDaddy news center since 03/23.
What do you think of Parsons' actions? Comment here.