LOS ANGELES: Entertainment PR firm 42West is pulling out of a deal with the government of Botswana to provide communications strategy for the country’s elephant hunting policy.
"While the nature of what 42West was hired to do for the Botswana Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism has been grossly misrepresented, we have ended this relationship," the agency said in a statement.
The firm, known largely for its entertainment work and representing clients such as Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant was set to be paid $125,000 for a five-month contract. It was planning to develop strategic messaging for a new Botswana policy about the hunting of elephants, PRWeek reported on May 22.
That same day, the southern African country said it had lifted a ban on elephant hunts that had been in place since 2014. The action drew a backlash on social media, including from Ellen DeGeneres, who tweeted, "President Masisi, for every person who wants to kill elephants, there are millions who want them protected. We're watching. #BeKindToElephants."
Shortly thereafter, Botswana’s government reportedly issued a clarification stating that it will issue no more than 400 elephant hunting permits per year.
A 42West representative declined to comment on the agency withdrawing from the contract.