It looks like the NBC Sports Network has gotten the message. This past weekend, amid ever-rising criticism about the hunting show, Under Wild Skies, the network has cancelled it.
Hosted by NRA lobbyist Tony Makris, the show came under fire last week after airing an episode in which Makris shot an elephant in the face. After posing with the dead animal (and his rifle), Makris toasted his “exploits” with champagne.
As Deadspin reports, the official reason that NBC says it is cancelling Under Wild Skies is some less than choice comments made by Makris. Specifically, while speaking to NRA News, Makris compared his critics to Hitler on the grounds that they were promoting what he called “animal racism.” Only because elephants are, he said, “so big and special and … smarter” were people criticizing him. Makris then claimed that “you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.”
NBC singled out these comments in its explanation for cancelling Under Wild Skies, but stopped short of highlighting the glorification of violence — the brutal killing of an endangered species — that Makris was so egregiously celebrating on the show last week:
Under Wild Skies will no longer air on NBC Sports Sports Network due to the program’s close association with its host, whose recent comments comparing his critics to Hitler are outrageous and unacceptable. NBCSN will continue to air all of our other quality outdoor programming.
It goes without saying that NBC is to be commended for cancelling Under Wild Skies due to its host’s ugly comments. The network should take heed from the controversy about the show as a whole and consider offering programming that highlights the real issues faced by elephants, the ongoing threat of poachers who continue to ruthlessly kill the earth’s largest mammals for their ivory tusks.
Experts routinely note that African elephants could become extinct in some places in the next few decades. In planning any future programming about elephants NBC should realize that, if the current rate of the slaughter of elephants continues, video and other footage could be the only way that any of us see an elephant alive and in motion.
A very big thanks to Care2 members who urged NBC to cancel Under Wild Skies!
Photo from Thinkstock