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December 2, 2013

NBC Universal Asked to Drop Trophy Hunting Programming

TV host Melissa Bachman posts photo with killed African lion, prompting public outrage

Melissa Bachman, host of NBC’s Winchester Deadly Passion, has sparked controversy by shooting and killing an African lion and then posting a photo where she posed and smiled while kneeling beside the carcass. As a matter of broadcast industry standards and practices because of the offensive and violent nature of the underlying behavior, The Humane Society of the United States has called on NBC to drop Bachman from all future shows and to reexamine its programming that promotes the vivid, inhumane and unsustainable trophy hunting of wildlife, including rare species.

In a letter to NBC Universal CEO Stephen B. Burke, The HSUS condemns trophy hunting, which involves apex predators and other rare species being shot just for their heads or hides for display purposes. In some of these hunts, the trophy hunters kill rare animals confined in enclosures that prevent the animals from even having a chance to escape – a practice generally referred to as “canned” or captive hunting.

The letter also addresses concerns about NBC’s association with Bachman, stating: “Ms. Bachman is a well-known trophy hunter, and her website and Facebook page are covered with photos of animals she has killed. On Winchester Deadly Passion, which airs on NBC Sports, she is shown laughing and giving the camera the ‘thumbs-up’ every time she kills a moose or bear or any number of other wild animals.” 

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS and author of the letter to NBC, said: “Melissa Bachman’s online boasting about her African lion kill is shameful, especially considering African lion populations are struggling to survive and belong on the endangered species list. We urge NBC to no longer air shows that feature Bachman, and to further take stock of its hunting-related programming to no longer promote killing as a head-hunting exercise.”

The HSUS notes that African lion populations have diminished by more than half in the last 30 years, and these majestic creatures now occupy only one-quarter of their historic range.  They have been devastated by the effects of habitat loss, poisoning, and trophy hunting. The HSUS and other organizations have petitioned the U.S. government to list the African lion as an endangered species. 

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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