A Wikileaks email with the subject heading “Cecil the lion” reveals that Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, asked a New York Times journalist to write an op-ed calling for the extradition of Cecil’s killer.
Podesta wrote, “as the only person anyone knows who has spent time in a Zimbabwe jail, you should pen an oped calling for his killer’s extradition. What an asshole.”
He added in his email to email@example.com, “Missed you at the mini-reunion.”
The email was apparently sent to Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak. Bearak was jailed in Zimbabwe in 2008 when he was in the country reporting on the elections there. He was charged with the crime of “committing journalism,” he wrote. The charges against him were later dismissed.
The Democratic presidential campaign chair and Clinton confidant sent the email on August 1, 2015, right after the “Cecil the Lion” controversy began.
Cecil the Lion became a household name on July 28 when reports hit that a Minnesota dentist had allegedly paid $50,000 plus to illegally kill the lion.
As reported by Breitbart News and UPI, the Safari Operators Association and the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, confirmed that a Bloomington, Minnesota dentist by the name of Walter James Palmer, was identified as the popular lion’s killer. Palmer allegedly paid for a private safari to hunt the 13-year-old lion. Zimbabwe wildlife officials said the group used food to lure Cecil out of the protected Hwange National Park. The lion was shot with an arrow but it took 40 hours to find him before they could finish him off with a gun. The lion was found decapitated and skinned. Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit had been studying Cecil for years. The lion had been tagged and regularly seen by tourists on safari.
The media and public backlash was swift. Hollywood celebrities took to social media to condemn Cecil’s killers. As reported by Breitbart, Sharon Osbourne, the wife of Ozzy Osbourne tweeted that Palmer was a “killer” and called him “Satan.” The wife of the heavy metal singer who once bit the head off a bat added, “I don’t know how anyone could go to this man for dental services after this.” Ricky Martin tweeted, “#JusticeforCecilTheLion NOW.” Nancy Sinatra tweeted, “Thanks for caring about #CecilTheLion, Jimmy. Maybe that creep should be skinned – slowly – for 40 hours. @jimmykimmel.” Mia Farrow tweeted the home address of the dentist, and when asked about the lion’s killer, Betty White said, “Do you really want to know? Anything loose cut off.”
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer told the public in a statement. He also said he would assist authorities with any inquiries.