April 2, 2011

No Daddy! – Shocking Elephant Kill “Promo” Video Goes Too Far

Video surfaced this week of Go Daddy.com CEO Bob Parsons killing an elephant in Zimbabwe Africa. Parsons claims these hunting expeditions are done as a “service” to the poor natives who see their crops decimated on a regular basis by “problem elephants”. There’s been a swift backlash against Go Daddy.com and their president, Bob Parsons as a result.

The Video: Caution.
The video is linked here. But I caution you, there are parts of it that are pretty disturbing, especially the end where villagers butcher the dead elephant. http://www.video.me/ViewVideo.aspx?ci=23830&vid=380843

A few things to mention. One might say (as Bob Parsons has said) that it’s really easy for you and I to sit comfortably with plenty of food to eat and pass judgment on such an act of “service”. Parsons has reiterated time and again since the controversy started how much these villagers appreciate his violent intervention. And indeed, on the video they seem to be celebrating as they carve up the dead elephant and eat its meat.

But Parsons misses the point.

We understand the “man versus nature” issue at hand with the poor and hungry villagers of Zimbabwe. The struggle between man and elephant is a real one. But what is also obvious and apparent in this video are the true motivations of Bob Parsons. Portraying himself as some knight in shining armor, performing a service for the poor villagers of Zimbabwe is just plain deceptive. Let’s be real, if Bob Parsons really cared for the starving villagers of Zimbabwe, he could set up any number of programs to feed them, help instill long-term (nonviolent) solutions with “problem elephants”, etc. The resources he spent to travel there to shoot an elephant is by no means the most efficient way to help, and surely he knows this. After all, this is a man who has built a multimillion dollar company. He understands how to mobilize resources, etc.

Just a Big GoDaddy Promo Shoot

It’s obvious to see in the video that Parsons is a game hunter, not a humanitarian. The village of hungry and needy Zimbabweans being “served” is but another extension of his already out of control ego. Like every hunter, there are the compulsory photos taken with him and the kill. But that’s just the beginning of the “nauseating” factor at play here. It is obvious from the get-go that this is a big promotion video. Before the kill takes place we see and hear Mr. Parsons laying out the situation for us, and explaining how these elephants need to be dealt with and when the elephants return that evening Parsons and crew (which includes a camera crew) will be ready to greet them with a surprise. Then like all hunters, brimming with the courage that only comes from 50 yards of distance and a high-powered rifle, we actually see him fire the fatal shots into a beautiful, majestic animal that was simply foraging for food so it could eat – like every other animal – like you and me.

But perhaps the most disgusting part of the video occurred after the “trophy shots” are shown. We see the next day, villagers carving up an elephant, all outfitted with gaudy, bright orange Go Daddy.com baseball caps. But it gets worse, at this point the soundtrack blasts “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. It’s at this point we know for sure that this is but a big promotional video for Go Daddy.com. This is the corporate image Bob Parsons obviously wishes Go Daddy.com to convey. That he, as a CEO, is a humanitarian, a real “he-man”, who goes out into the villages of the world and helps poor people by shooting and killing menacing animals.

Who is the Real Bob Parsons?

Perhaps Bob Parsons is right and many of us got it wrong. Perhaps he’s just a misunderstood philanthropist, helping the poor of Zimbabwe eat by killing the trouble elephants, using his power and influence for good in this way. However, the Bob Parsons that I see on this video, and his subsequent responses since this controversy, indicate something else entirely.

What I see is a man who views creatures such as elephants and other game animals (he’s also known to hunt jaguars) as unimportant, devoid of soul, undeserving of respect. They exist for his amusement. As a superior human, animals are something to control, and even kill if he wishes. As long as he is breaking no (man-made) laws, who cares. My feeling is the poor Zimbabwean villagers are a mere coincidence, used to bolster his personal ego and corporate brand. They are little more than a photo-op to him – another prop to be used. Make no mistake, there was nothing spontaneous about this hunting trip/video. As Parsons himself has said, he has been going there for years. So this year, with camera crew and Go Daddy.com baseball hats in tow, he staged the entire scene.

It must be noted that Bob Parsons and the Go Daddy.com marketing crew know full well the power of online video to create a corporate brand and identity. Go Daddy.com is somewhat famous for their “Racy Super Bowl Ads”, featuring scantily clad women. Yes, Bob thought this would be a great way to bolster his corporate brand. But it backfired, and that fact encourages me to no end.

In truth, Bob Parsons is probably a pretty decent man, just backward and ignorant, from another generation, from another era. The world is changing and Bob Parsons and men (and women) of his ilk are relics of the past. Someone needs to tell him that “Violent, insincere, arrogant, white man with gun, killing animals” is not a very marketable brand these days. The biggest problem now, as I see it, is his continued justification for this unnecessary and violent act. Since the controversy, there has been no contrition from Bob Parsons, no regret expressed. In fact he has been defiant. Remarkably at one point when challenged on the sophistication and intelligence of elephants and how they mourn their dead just like humans, Parsons replied that this doesn’t apply to bull elephants because they’re loners anyway, to paraphrase. He as also said it will probably be good for business. I guess we’ll see about that, but I doubt it.

I predict after a few weeks of controversy he will soften and begin to express contrition, mainly because of its negative effect on business.

Personally, I have used Go Daddy.com to buy domains over the years and have several domains parked there. I am taking all of my business elsewhere. Bob Parsons and Go Daddy.com do not represent the type of personal ethic that is congruent with my values. If you have done business with Go Daddy.com and feel this is an affront to your sensibilities, I encourage you to do the same.

The Astrology Behind it All

Since I am an Indian astrologer, I should reflect that this is shown by several planets in (or recently in) Revati Nakshatra (asterism). This Nakshatra is rules by Pusan, the shepherd and protector of animals and men and the deity that helps us find our way home. The next month will see an increase in animal stories in the news and our desire to protect and love of animals will be seen. We have already seen these animal stories lately, with the missing snake in the New York Zoo. The animal yoni for Revati Nakshatra is an elephant. 

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