A Kentucky woman is facing harsh criticism on social media after photographs circulated on Twitter showing her posing with a giraffe she killed on a South African safari last year.
A tweet last month from @africlandpost showed photo of big-game hunter Tess Thompson Talley exulting with the dead giraffe. “White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe courtesy of South Africa stupidity,” the tweet said. It named Talley and added: “Please share.”
Some celebrities joined the criticism, with comedian Ricky Gervais tweeting: “What’s 16 feet tall and has a c**t on the back of its neck?” Actress Debra Messing wrote: “Tess Thompson Talley from Nippa, Kentucky is a disgusting, vile, amoral, heartless, selfish murderer.”
Trophy hunting is legal in South Africa, as well as in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but is often condemned on social media. Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, was scorned in 2015 for killing “Cecil the Lion” near a national park in Zimbabwe. And President Donald Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, sparked anger in 2015 when photos surfaced of them posing with a dead elephant and other animals several years earlier.
Talley’s giraffe photos were originally posted on her Facebook page last year, Fox News reported. She wrote: “Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4000 lbs. and was blessed to be able to get 2000 lbs. of meat from him.”
The post has since been deleted, according to USA Today.
Talley didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for comment. She did say in an email to Fox News: “The giraffe I hunted was the South African sub-species of giraffe. The numbers of this sub-species is actually increasing due, in part, to hunters and conservation efforts paid for in large part by big game hunting. The breed is not rare in any way other than it was very old. Giraffes get darker with age.”
Gervais had a long response to that, saying in part: “I’m sick of Trophy Hunters trying to excuse their grim sport by saying they provide a service. They exploit the needs of the poor. They pay lots of money to go and shoot a magnificent animal because the authorities need the cash, and then claim they are doing a good deed. It’s not a good deed.”
Some people on social media defended Talley.