The web hosting and domain registration giant has been around for almost fifteen years, demonstrating both industry influence and staying power. Since 1997, GoDaddy has been headed by the same person: Bob Parsons. In an industry where the CEO turnover rate is shorter than most presidential terms, some might term this remarkable.
Perhaps it’s that singular vision provided by the founder that has made the company so successful. Managing more than 45 million domain names, the company dwarfs other registrars with its market share, controlling over a quarter of the market.
Customers love the company’s unconventional and sometimes irreverent attitude, employing IndyCar driver Danica Patrick and T.V. trainer Jillian Michaels, among others, as “GoDaddy Girls.” In fact, it’s not uncommon for bizarre, random, and sometimes slightly inappropriate humor to appear on their website.
Now many—most notably the animal rights group PETA—are disturbed by the CEO’s most recent controversy. A video featuring Parsons hunting elephants in Zimbabwe was released, in which the corporate heavyweight tracks, shoots, and poses next to an elephant in the poor and sometimes famine-stricken country.
What would you do if you had all the money in the world? It’s not uncommon for extremely wealthy individuals to pursue rare hobbies out of the reach of the common man. I actually expect this kind of behavior from people of his caliber. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s part of an underground group of elite moneymakers who gather to dine on endangered animals regularly.
Parsons defends his actions, in typical spin-it CEO style, by carefully explaining a real tear-jerker: These elephants, majestic and awesome as they may be, are careless brutes who don’t understand boundaries, tearing through local villagers’ fields and trampling their crops, significantly reducing the available food for the already poor Zimbabweans. He’s doing them a service. It’s charity, really.
Not only is this dead elephant no longer destroying crops, it’s also readily providing meat for the villagers as well. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Except, of course, the elephant—and GoDaddy.
Parsons’ body language suggests a giddy hobbyist, excited about his kill. Clearly, he didn’t pose with his elbow propped up on the elephant’s lifeless torso, grinning like a maniac, because he felt the self-satisfaction of charitable actions toward a lessthan-fortunate community. And yet, when the video leaked, and the accusations and boycott-talk began, this is exactly the defense he provided.
He has a good point, though. Elephants trampling crops is a serious problem in this part of the world. The common theme in this area is that a living elephant means human starvation, while a dead elephant means plenty of available food. If you were starving, which would you choose?
The problem is that it’s highly unethical to kill all the elephants, which would need to happen to completely stop the problem with this method. Furthermore, this is the elephant’s natural habitat, which humans are also living in. The two should probably learn cohabitation. They’ve survived this long; maybe they should consider having less people? Birth control maybe?
Bob Parsons is a legitimately successful businessman who deserves the right to spend his hard-earned money in whatever manner he likes. I can’t fault him for that. But if the real reason for his actions is to protect the food supply of local villagers, then why did he spend so much money to fly over there and hunt down elephants? Couldn’t he have donated money for a gun and bullets to someone already there?
There is a certain amount of skill involved in killing an elephant. They’re massive creatures who are not downed easily. By Parsons’ own admission, this was his fifth elephant kill, and not on this trip alone. Obviously, he likes killing elephants!
This is nothing new. Big game hunters have been around forever, hunting lions and other creatures considered relatively rare. It’s a bit of a taboo subject, but it happens. There’s no denying that. But in many cases these creatures are considered immediately dangerous to life. Think jaguars that literally stalk humans in the woods and leap out of the darkness to stab their sharp teeth into the necks of their poor victims.
The elephants don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not acting out of spite, or even survival. They’re just walking where they shouldn’t. Could money be spent to divert the elephants’ paths? Possibly. Did Parsons look into this as an option? No. He obviously likes killing elephants!
Would we feel the same way about his actions if we were talking about him shooting deer in the woods in the United States? Probably not, and those deer don’t even trample our crops. So what’s the big deal?
My issue with this is that he’s lying. He should admit the enjoyment he gets out of killing elephants. He is spinning his controversial hobby as charitable work. Thanks, CEO of an American company, for solving our problem manually with a shotgun!
I usually run far, far away from any subject that PETA touches, and I’m not going to back their suggestion that consumers boycott his company. There are hundreds of other reasons to avoid their terrible service like the plague, anyway.
But if you feel the slime oozing out of his statements on this subject, it’s just another reason to not use GoDaddy.