This isn’t Francis’ first time dealing with criticism on her choice of hobby. She has posted numerous photos to her Facebook page, including shots with bears, moose, and zebras in a similar style to the giraffe photo above. She addressed the criticism in an interview with Hunting Life magazine:
‘I was approached toward the end of my hunt with a unique circumstance. They showed me this beautiful old bull giraffe that was wandering all alone.
‘He had been kicked out of the herd by a younger and stronger bull. He was past his breeding years and very close to death.
‘They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food and other means of survival.
‘He was inevitably going to die soon and he could either be wasted or utilized by the local people.
‘Once he was down there were people waiting to take his meat. They also took his tail to make jewellery, his bones to make other things, and did not waste a single part of him.
‘I am grateful to be a part of something so good.’
Gervais also responded to this with some more tweets, mocking the “benevolent” nature of Francis’ deeds and piling some more onto the original photo that sparked his response:
Now the problem here is what is coming in the wake of Gervais’ tweets. Death threats and attacks are nothing new for Francis, but there was a rise following the attention it has received via Gervais. I mean I’m writing about it here when I didn’t even know Francis existed last week, so the visibility is higher.
Is this too much? Does this play into our need to shame folks? There’s been a lot of talk about Jon Ronson’s new book around here lately — which I’m happy about because I didn’t know it existed — so is this different? Does Francis deserve the ire? Is Gervais entitled to his public statements? Personally, I’d say yes on all accounts and the additional account that she’s allowed to have her hobby. It isn’t something that I agree with, but that is up for debate since there are some benefits to hunting (not necessarily sport hunting, though). And it’s definitely something that deserves discussion away from death threats.