A series airing on the NBC Sports Network has become the target of intense criticism and a campaign calling for the show’s cancellation, with the network announcing it will re-examine its standards because of the outcry, the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports.
The uproar over the series "Under Wild Skies" was prompted by a segment on the show in which an NRA strategist shot and killed an African elephant, the piece reports. The incident sparked an online petition calling for the show to be canceled.
The episode showed host Tony Makris and a guide stalking an elephant in Botswana, with Makris boasting about his "positively lethal" rifle. After shooting the animal twice, he follows it and finishes killing it. The men then celebrate over champagne.
In addition to hosting the show, Makris is a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. The show isn’t produced by NBC Sports Network, but is an NRA-sponsored show that airs via a "time buy," similar to an infomercial, the story notes.
NBC Sports Network reportedly said it won’t rebroadcast the episode, but will go on airing the show. A video posted online and linked from the Times article, apparently showing the killing of the elephant, was removed from YouTube and replaced with a disclaimer saying the clip "violated YouTube’s Terms of Service."
"We’ve listened to our viewers and will not air that particular episode of ‘Under Wild Skies’ again. We’re also taking a close look at our internal standards as part of this process because this content should not have aired," the network said in a statement. "While this form of hunting is legal, we understand that many viewers find it objectionable. As a result we are taking an aggressive approach towards objectionable content within future episodes of ‘Under Wild Skies’ and other series."