The feud between a celebrity huntress and comedian Ricky Gervais is heating up online.
A week ago on Monday, Gervais posted a picture of 41-year-old hunter Rebecca Francis lying next to a giraffe she had killed.
“What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?” Gervais commented on the picture.
Giving an exclusive statement to HuntingLife.com, Francis said she was asked to hunt the giraffe after he had been kicked out of his herd by a younger bull giraffe.
“They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food and other means of survival,” she said to HuntingLife.com. “He was inevitably going to die soon and he could either be wasted or utilised by the local people. I chose to honour his life by providing others with his uses and I do not regret it for one second.”
Gervais and his followers were not deterred by Francis’s story of giving the meat to a local village.
Let’s hope these Trophy Hunters never get old and sick and separated from the herd ;)
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 20, 2015
You don’t use a bow & arrow and then take a smiling selfie in a mercy killing. She wanted to murder a giraffe & she did. Fuck the bullshit.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 20, 2015
After receiving more criticism online, Francis once again gave an exclusive statement to HuntingLife.com where she made the argument that Gervais had specifically targeted her because she was a woman in the hunting industry.
Here’s the full statement [emphasis ours]:
I don’t claim to be a game biologist and do not intend to argue specifics about the undeniable necessity of game management to promote the conservation and preservation of animals. There is no question that hunters contribute the most to the welfare of wildlife. I believe in the right to hunt. I believe that hunters promote wildlife more than any other source. However, whether hunting is right or wrong is no longer the issue at hand. Ricky Gervais has used his power and influence to specifically target women in the hunting industry and has sparked thousands of people to call for my death, the death of my family and many other women who hunt.
This has evolved into an issue about the morality of threatening human lives over disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs. It shocks me that people who claim to be so loving and caring for animals can turn around and threaten to murder and rape my children. Where is the logic in that? In a country that was created on freedom of beliefs, it is hard to comprehend that people are so intolerant of each other that they promote vile, disgusting, and explicit ways to invoke death upon others.
I am proud to call myself a hunter. I am proud to be a woman in the hunting industry. I am proud to be a mother. I will never apologise for these things. Hunting is a way of life I have known since birth, and I have experienced first hand all of the good that comes from it. Hunters will continue to unite to educate those who do not have a clear understanding of role of hunting in wildlife management. Hunting has been crucial to the balance of nature since the beginning of time, and it is even more crucial today.
Francis is not the first female hunter to be attacked on social media. After pictures of Kendall Jones posing happily with a lion she had hunted went viral in 2014, she received death threats and launched a Change.org petition that attracted more than 168,000 signatures that attempted to petition the American Embassy to bar Jones from hunting in Africa.
Female hunters do seem to face more backlash than their male counterparts with their smiling photos going viral online — most likely because it challenges our expectations of both women and hunters.
Speaking with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Kelly Oliver, a philosophy professor at Vanderbilt University who has studied the “hunting girls” phenomenon, agreed.
“We expect men to be hunters, but we’re surprised when girls are hunting,” she told CBC. “Whatever we think about hunting the ‘Big Five’ in Africa, it’s clear that we still have issues with women and girls carrying guns and using them.”
As for Gervais, he insists his attention on Francis’s hunting has nothing to do because of her gender:
“I kill lions, giraffes & bears with guns & bows and arrows then pose grinning. Why don’t people like me? Must be because they’re sexist”
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 17, 2015
We need to stamp out this terrible sexism in the noble sport of trophy hunting. The men & women that do it are EQUALLY vile & worthless.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 18, 2015
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