A huntress has been inundated with death threats after comedian Ricky Gervais posted a picture of her posing next to one of her kills. Rebecca Francis, who hunts with a bow and arrow, is one of America’s premiere hunters. She won the Extreme Huntress TV competition in 2010.
Gervais came across a picture of Francis, a grandmother of nine, lying alongside a giraffe that she had killed. He posted it to Twitter, commenting “What must have happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal; then lie next to it smiling?”
What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling? pic.twitter.com/DyYw1T5ck2
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 13, 2015
His tweet has been retweeted thousands of times, prompting a barrage of hate from animal lovers. ‘MistaHappyDalek’ replied to Gervais’ tweet saying “May that horrible woman die a lonely, painful death”. Others called her a “sick b****”, and ranted “she needs shooting!”
Others took to Francis’ Facebook page to insult her. One wrote: “You are a complete waste of skin, I hope your guns faulty and you end up shooting yourself!” Another raged “The world would be a better place without you.”
One sinister comment beneath a post about a hunt read: “Can I come? But the only bullet I’ll be using is the one I put in your head.”
According to her website, Francis has hunted from an early age, when she’d take trips with her father and brothers into the American wild. She married at 22, “instantly becoming a mother to five”, and later had three more children. She and her husband are passionate about field sports, hunting elk and deer “every year without fail, even through pregnancy, and nursing babies.”
She is a strong advocate of the sport for women, leading a number of trips for women to hunt bears, moose, caribou and dall sheep. “For me, there is nothing more empowering than sharing that special moment of success with another female who is chasing her dreams.” she says.
Rebecca Francis has since made a statement to Hunting.com regarding the photograph, explaining that the giraffe was old, and killed for its meat. She said:
“When I was in Africa five years ago I was of the mindset that I would never shoot a giraffe.
“I was approached toward the end of my hunt with a unique circumstance. They showed me this beautiful old bull giraffe that was wandering all alone. He had been kicked out of the herd by a younger and stronger bull. He was past his breeding years and very close to death.
“They asked me if I would preserve this giraffe by providing all the locals with food and other means of survival. He was inevitably going to die soon and he could either be wasted or utilized by the local people.
“I chose to honor his life by providing others with his uses and I do not regret it for one second. Once he was down there were people waiting to take his meat. They also took his tail to make jewelry, his bones to make other things, and did not waste a single part of him. I am grateful to be a part of something so good”