Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons: Africa Elephant Hunt Video 'Nothing to Be Ashamed Of'

Tells ABC his videotaped elephant hunt helped locals defend their food supply.

April 2, 2011 — -- Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons has a message for those outraged by a four-minute video of an elephant hunt in Zimbabwe on his Go Daddy video site.

"I think if you had all the facts and you knew exactly what was going on and the difference it makes in these people's lives there," he told ABC News Radio, "you'd feel completely different."

Parsons has said he participated in the hunt because the elephants were a nuisance destroying crops the local population depended upon for sustenance and even threatening the lives of villagers.

Therefore, his hunt solved two problems, he suggested.

"First they have their crops," he told ABC News Radio, "and they get to eat the elephant."

Parsons always has welcomed buzz and controversy around his racy Super Bowl commercials. But backlash against his recent video could damage his company's place as the number-one Internet domain name company.

This week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it will close its account with Go Daddy and is encouraging other account holders to do the same.

"We're encouraging anyone who has a domain business with Go Daddy to cut ties," said Ashley Gonzalez, a PETA spokeswoman. "He's obviously not feeling remorseful, but if his customer base speaks up, maybe he'll listen to that message."

Gonzalez said that although the elephants are not endangered, they are "majestic animals that have complex emotions and family bonds."

"It's just horrible for him to post a video of him shooting this animal," Gonzalez said.

Parsons has defended the hunt in the media. He said that a local farmer asked him to hunt the elephants that were destroying crops on his farm and leading to growing hunger in the area.

"Each year I go to Zimbabwe and hunt problem elephant. It's one of the most beneficial and rewarding things I do," he wrote in his description of the video, posted March 14.

He added that critics misunderstood his intent in posting the video.

"It's certainly nothing to be ashamed of," he told ABC News Radio. "And I think it just should be recorded, for nothing else, for people to see what goes on over there."

Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons on Critics: 'All Talk and No Walk'

Parsons said there is a persistent problem in that part of Zimbabwe, where elephants trample farmers' crops in an area that is already short of food.

"In Zimbabwe, the people there are incredibly impoverished," Parsons told Mashable. "They treasure an empty plastic water bottle. It's heart-wrenching to watch. ... These people are all subsistence farmers, and if they don't have a good harvest, they starve. That's it -- there's no support, there's no welfare, and if they starve, they will die."

PETA's Gonzalez said Parsons' response was not a solution to the bigger problem of the destruction of elephant habitats in Zimbabwe, leading them to find food elsewhere.

"As humans move around the world, there will be wildlife conflicts. But there are humane, non-lethal ways to deal with those conflicts," Gonzalez said. "What Bob Parsons did is not a solution. It's a very short-term fix. If you look at the video, he's gloating. He's sitting on the elephant with a big smile on his face. It's a heartless act."

Parsons suggested such outrage showed a lack of understanding of the problem.

"The people making all these suggestions, there's none of them willing to step up and do anything," he told ABC News Radio. "I mean, they're all talk and no walk.

"This is not the kind that you see on Disney," he added. "I mean, these are not gentle creatures. I mean, these are wild animals."

Go Daddy, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., says it manages half the websites in the country and has 2,950 employees. The company aired its seventh Super Bowl commercial in February, featuring IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, fitness coach Jillian Michaels and a computer-edited television actress Joan Rivers.

A Go Daddy competitor, Namecheap, is inviting attention to the elephant controversy and has launched a promotion in which you can transfer your account for $4.99. Namecheap added that it will donate $1 to Save the Elephants.

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