Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Exclusive: Hollywood PR Firm 42 West Will NOT Defend Botswana’s Proposal to Allow Elephant Hunting, Will Exit “Misunderstood” Agreement ASAP


No one can figure this out. Reports circulated starting almost a week ago that Hollywood PR firm 42 West had taken on the country of Botswana as a client specifically to defend their new law allowing elephant hunting. According to reports, they were being paid a pittance to do this dirty work: $125,000.

But now I am told exclusively by sources that 42 West did not sign on to do any such thing. And they will exit an agreement that was called “misunderstood” by those I spoke to.

Indeed, I can’t imagine 42 West’s Leslee Dart agreeing to do such a thing. She’s an animal activist. So are are clients like Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. They would have cows (just an expression) if such a thing happened. In 2014 Streep called the sale of ivory a “product of horrific cruelty to elephants, who could very well become extinct within decades if we don’t act now.”

Ironically, Streep and Kidman will be on a red carpet tonight for HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” The timing couldn’t be worse.

According to the Associated Press five days ago, 42 West had filed as a foreign agent to represent Botswana for developing talking points and a communications plan that “articulates Botswana’s policy on elephant hunting” that will be delivered to “key U.S. and other Western audiences.”

But my sources say the almost instantaneous blowback made the firm realize it could not fulfill the agreement. I’m told it will be nullified within a day or so.

Botswana is home to the largest elephant population of any country– about 130,000. Elephant hunting was prohibited. It was literally a safe place for this endangered, beloved species.

But recently the country gave in and proposed a change to the law that would elephants to be prey to big game hunters. Their goal is not just in the sick glee of murdering a defenseless animal. They’re after the ivory tusks, which are worth millions.

I’ve visited Botswana twice. When they announced this new plan I wrote on Twitter, to them, that I was horrified. Any thinking person would be. And I say this also in the memory of Mark Shand, the late brother of Camilla Parker Bowles, who devoted his life to rescuing elephants. All sport hunting should be banned, in my opinion, especially in Africa where all species– including ours– are endangered.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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