The National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist who garnered criticism for shooting an elephant twice in the face on NBC Sports and celebrating with champagne responded to his critics Thursday calling them “animal racists.”
The show featured Tony Makris stalking and shooting a one-tusked bull in the Botswana bush. The episode of “Under Wild Skies,” which is sponsored is the NRA, received more than 50,000 views before being removed for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service. Those shocked by the video have called on NBC Sports to cancel the show.
Thursday Makris told NRA talk show host Cam Edwards that animals rights activists who criticized the hunt are just like Adolf Hitler.
When people ask why he shot the elephant, Makris said, “The short answer is because hungry people eat.”
“I’m a hunter,” he added. “I hunt all things.”
He claimed animal rights activists are being hypocritical.
“And they go, ‘They’re so big and kind and gentle and smart.’ And I said, ‘Okay, let me ask you a question. Should I be able to shoot birds? Well, I guess that’s okay. Ducks? Yeah. Pigeons? Oh, they’re flying rats, okay. Rabbits? Well rabbits are cute. But yeah. Squirrels? That’s nothing but a rat with a tail — with a fuzzy tail.’ And I said, ‘Well deer eat all my mother’s roses in Long Island.’ And I go, ‘So I can shoot all of those, but not an elephant?’”
Makris said that is “a very unique form of animal racism.”
“And now they’re shocked,” he continued. “And they said, ‘But they’re so big and special and they’re smarter’. And I went, ‘You know, Hitler would have said the same thing.’”
A petition to cancel Makris’ show has gained more than 51,000 signatures.
Makris has a long history with the NRA. He reportedly helped install Charlton Heston as the organization president in 1998.