Skip to main content founder defends elephant-hunting video

By Leigh Remizowski, CNN
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GoDaddy chief says elephant kill needed
  • NEW: "It takes a guy like me" to protect villagers' crops from rogue elephants, Parsons says
  • GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons posts a video showing him shooting an elephant
  • Parsons says the kill, in Zimbabwe, gave local farmers meat and protected their crops
  • Animal rights group PETA launches an online boycott of GoDaddy

(CNN) -- The CEO of on Friday defended an online video that shows him shooting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe.

"It takes a guy like me" to protect villagers' crops from rogue elephants, he said.

Bob Parsons, founder of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based web-hosting service, posted the graphic video on his Twitter account on March 14. The footage, shot March 8, shows him hunting an elephant on a farm and posing with a shotgun beside its corpse.

Then, it shows locals crowding around the dead animal and cutting off pieces of its meat.

Parsons said he killed the animal for the good of local farmers whose crops are often destroyed by elephants.

GoDaddy CEO faces off against PETA
  • Bob Parsons
  • PETA

"They would say 'please come back,' " he said, arguing the measure is an effective way to protect crops and feed hungry local residents.

The video shows him walking through a field of flattened sorghum plants, which he said had been crushed by roaming elephants.

The reason he posted the video, Parsons said, is because he wants "people to know what goes on over there."

"There were people who walked 25 miles to get to that elephant," he said, referencing a food crisis that has often plagued developing countries.

But critics call his methods extreme.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals initiated an online boycott of and its services until Parsons "stops shooting animals," according to the organization's website.

Parsons' own website has also been inundated by negative comments about the video.

"A lot of the people who are upset about this are animal lovers," Parsons said. "Their heart is in the right place but they just don't understand the situation."

He called the fact that the elephant meat provided food for the people "a bonus."

"They literally have nothing and they're on the brink of starvation," he said.

Parsons has traveled to Zimbabwe for several years, but only last year began hunting elephants at the request of local farmers, he said.

Elephant experts say it is not illegal to kill rogue elephants in Zimbabwe.

Parsons said he has killed five elephants.

PETA rejected Parsons' explanation, with the organization's president, Ingrid Newkirk, releasing a statement saying, "If Bob Parsons really wanted to help African villagers, he would use his money to promote one of the many effective, nonlethal methods available to protect crops -- not act like a little boy with a gun."

In a press release, PETA said it is pulling its business from, and the group labeled Parsons "Scummiest CEO of the Year."

Meanwhile, asked if the PETA boycott had affected's business, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll said, "There has been no significant change in business."