I’m not an elephant or a video expert. I’ve never been to Zimbabwe or gone elephant hunting. I can’t speak to anything other than my own gut instinct.
Controversy pounced on GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons when he claimed to have killed a “problem” elephant in Zimbabwe and posted a video of such to his company’s YouTube-competitor, Video.me. So far for the company and for Dr. Parsons, the controversy actually worked in pushing traffic to Video.me while losing very view customers.
I wanted to point something out others in all the building news coverage hasn’t noticed: You never, ever see an elephant.
In the three minute and 16 seconds of video posted by Dr. Parsons, viewers can’t actually see anything killed other than two shots fired into the dark, a flashlight on sorghum fields and the sound of one — just one — elephant trumpeting. The herd supposedly contains three bulls, two of which are aggressively charging at the time of the shooting. Surely the sounds of these pachyderms thundering toward the group and crushing the crops could have been heard.
But all we hear are shots and single trumpet. Such a sound can be easily added later as the music and grammatically incorrect subtitles were.
Further, Dr. Parsons is a millionaire many times over and could easily afford a video camera with night vision, as they’re easy to find at less than $600.
Dr. Parsons claims to have killed a bull or male elephant with his two shots. The next morning see villagers crowded around something the size of a very small elephant. I spent a lot of time near African elephants in recent months, all of them females, which are smaller than bulls.
If this indeed was an elephant killed, we never get a good look at the carcass prior to the butchering. Once killed, if Dr. Parson is so brazen as he claims, turn on the lights and let’s see you foot on the elephant you killed. Surely someone has a camera with a flash. Alas, we never, ever see an elephant.
I’ve included the first view of the so-called elephant here. If it is an elephant, it’s less than the 5,000-pound one I met and visited with up close. It could be another animal all together.
For all the media coverage, no one seems to be actually questioning the authenticity of the video, which comes exclusively from the subtitles on the screen.
Personally, I wonder if all this was ginned up for the media coverage its generating. With the exception of a bull or cow or something big slaughtered for a feast and to make it look like Dr. Parsons did something “evil” in the sight of animal lovers and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who he’s currently poking fun at on his Twitter feed, @DrBobParsons.
P.S. If anyone wants to hire me as their digital marketer, I can help with something like this.