Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke launches ‘sickening’ bloodsports TV channel in the UK that shows lion and elephant hunts


Jack de Menezes, The Independent

Date Published

See link for photos & video. Please note that the video shows a lion being shot and killed.

Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has come under fire for launching a new bloodsports television channel that was unveiled in the United Kingdom over the weekend that will show regular hunting programmes that includes killing elephants, lions and other vulnerable African species.

The American billionaire, who owns 67% of the Premier League club’s shares, oversaw the launch of My Outdoor TV [MOTV], which was revealed in the UK at the Game Fair in Hertfordshire and described by those who back the channel as the “Netflix of the hunting world”.

The channel will screen shows that follow hunters across the globe, primarily in Africa where big-money hunting trips are available, and involve various ways of killing wild animals that includes by bow and arrows and by guns.

It is owned by Outdoor Sportsman Group, part of Kroenke Sport Entertainment, and has already gone live in the United States, with the UK launch aiming to spread its audience across English-speaking countries.

One programme shows a presenter shooting a critically endangered African elephant before the bull turns and charges at him. Two more shots are heard before the animal falls to the ground and dies.

“There’s no other feeling in the world quite like walking up on your bull elephant,” the man says to the camera.

Another show, called Dark Continent Quest, features huntress Jana Waller and her travels across the world killing animals with a bow and arrow. One episode shows Ms Waller killing a hartebeest in South Africa, with the arrow hitting the animal before it runs away. Ms Waller and her guide, John Faul, wait for the animal to bleed to death before approaching it.

“It’s a good shot. Definitely, some liver and some lungs hit,” says Mr Faul while the animal is still alive.

Ms Waller adds “the shot was a little far back for me, but one shot did it,” before holding up the hartebeest’s “beautiful heart shaped horns”.

The channel will be available for $9.99 [£7.60] a month, but has unsurprisingly attracted fierce criticism for the nature of its coverage, with animal rights supporters calling for the channel to be banned.

A spokesman for MOTV defended the programmes that will make up its coverage, and claimed that it will only show “ethical hunts”.

 “MOTV will present ethical, fair chase hunting and as long as it’s legal it will be on there,” said Simon Barr, the channel’s spokesman. “If you like hunting elephants, there will be legal elephant hunts, ethical elephant hunts, shown in that context.”

Many of the presenters that take part in the hunting also describe themselves as “conservationists”, despite the brutal and graphic methods of killing the animals. Supporters of hunting claim that the big-money hunts are sometimes the only way of generating the funds that help protect species from extinction, though critics have described the early viewings as “sickening”.

“I’m sure people won’t like all the content on MOTV, but it won’t be censored,” Mr Barr added. “On every film there’s an explanation of what hunting does for conservation and the local community.” 

However, that defence was rejected by Philippa King, the chief operating officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, and she claimed that large parts of the money generated by trophy hunting does not go towards the conservation of endangered species.

“We’re living in a world now where most people can see how brutal and shameful trophy hunting is, yet the Arsenal boss is choosing to launch his sick TV channel in the UK,” Ms King told The Times.

“Most people won’t agree that trophy hunting is in any way ethical, and studies have debunked claims that most of the blood money goes towards supporting conservation,” Ms King added. “I’m not sure in what way an idiot with a gun against an elephant is a fair chase.

“Mr Kroenke could do the world a great favour by stopping peddling this kind of sickening TV and turning his focus on helping the animals he apparently likes to see killed.”

The channel will shows various programmes from hunting and shooting tutorials to cooking shows based on the latest way to eat the animal killed on a hunt, as well as fishing and gun programmes.