On March 8, 2011, while vacationing in Labola
, Zimbabwe, GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shot and killed an elephant that was scavenging through a local farmer's crops for food. Parsons made and edited a video of his kill, which he posted on his personal blog. The video showed "hungry" villagers, some of whom were wearing GoDaddy company hats, pillaging the elephant's carcass for its meat while the AC/DC song "Hells Bells
" plays as a soundtrack.
In the video, Parson's states that, "Of everything that I do this is the most rewarding." Parsons stood by that sentiment, later stating:
- "I kind of figured that this [backlash] might happen. So be it, I’m not ashamed of what I did. 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...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...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...''
The video outraged thousands including animal rights groups, like PETA, who named Parsons the "Scummiest CEO of the Year" and stated that it was ending its account with Go Daddy, encouraging others to do the same. Amid the fallout, GoDaddy competitor NameCheap.com offered donations to Save the Elephants.