GoDaddy Brings Up the Elephant Ordeal in Press Release About Haiti Donations

Chris CrumBusiness

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As reported a few weeks ago, GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons tweeted that the company was donating $500,000 to the charity Hope for Haiti, the second such donation it had made since the earthquake in Haiti in early 2010.

Despite numerous charitable efforts from the company over the years, some critics suggested this was a PR move to aid in the brand's recovery following the infamous ordeal in which Parsons posted video of himself killing an elephant in Zimbabwe, complete with various still photos of himself posing with the carcass, an AC/DC soundtrack and hungry villagers butchering the elephant while wearing GoDaddy apparel (these elements were later edited out of the video).

GoDaddy issued a press release today, regarding Parsons' "humanitarian mission to Haiti," it says that he rejects any suggestion the trip was designed to negate recent condemnation over his March visit to Africa. "The idea that I did this to counter any criticism is nonsense," Parsons declared. "This trip was planned months ago, our donations were delivered well before my Zimbabwe trip and the people who know me will tell you, I don't really care what people think about me … I do care about using what success I've had to help those less fortunate."

Parsons has been talking about the elephant incident again on Twitter as recently as 17 hours ago from the time of this writing, linking to an interview (from April 4) with CNN's Piers Morgan (embedding is disabled unfortunately):

@kylangver This explains why I took the elephant. 18 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Of course the interview doesn't touch on why the video Parsons has done nothing but defend was edited so heavily.

Here is a snippet from today's press release about Parsons' and wife Renee's trip to Haiti:

While on the four-day Haiti tour, Bob and Renee helped pack First Aid kits for primary and secondary schools and sponsored public health education training for rural community leaders. Bob and Renee also walked through a government-run hospital and the Hope for Haiti health clinic, both in Les Cayes. Go Daddy donations helped double the capacity of the clinic, a building transformed from a slaughterhouse into an infirmary.

They also visited with children at a rural elementary school, a local family and students at the Jeunes de Monde School for "Restavek" children, who are essentially indentured servants. One of the most inspiring stops was the Missionaries of Charity, which is an orphanage and health center run by the Mother Theresa order.

"We have worked closely with the sisters for years," said Tiffany Kuehner, President of Hope for Haiti, whose grandmother, JoAnne M. Kuehner D.M., first started working in Haiti in 1989 and founded the organization. "Bob and Renee were able to play with the children and to see, first-hand, all the amazing work being done at the Missionaries of Charity. It provided a viewpoint you just can't explain in words. It's an emotional experience for anyone, but for an American business leader of Bob's caliber to take so much time, to see and listen to the stories of our partners' means a lot. We hope Go Daddy can help attract more attention to this important cause."

Bob recorded segments for his video blog at most every stop on the tour. "We were impressed with how quickly Bob processed the information from the Haitian people and translated it for his viewers," said Elizabeth Davison, Hope for Haiti Executive Director. "We believe getting the word out through Bob's blog will help drive more and more donations. Every little bit counts!"

Here's the video:

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.