Press Release

Camping World CEO Defends Himself Against Anti-Hunting Accusations

Camping World Logo

The companies Camping World and Good Sam have recently come under fire for being “anti-hunting” after they terminated their advertising relationship with Donald Trump’s show, “Celebrity Apprentice” after trophy hunting photos of Trump’s sons hit the spotlight.

The catch is that Good Sam is sponsoring an episode that is set to air in April 2012. Would the episode still air with their sponsorship? Good Sam and Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis said that the money on the episode has already been spent, but there will be no further advertising with the show continuing after the episode airs, although it’s not because Lemonis nor his companies take an anti-hunting stance.

Rather, Lemonis said in a webinar hosted by the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) that it is because of a poor relationship and poor communication over a couple of years with the show’s producers that he won’t be sponsoring “Celebrity Apprentice” any longer.

Lemonis also apologized about his comments published by TMZ which ignited the controversy surrounding the company’s alleged anti-hunting stance. Previously, Lemonis was quoted by TMZ as saying, “I am totally disgusted by the [hunting] pics I have seen and was surprised to see them … Money is spent but wow I’m really shocked.” Then, the report goes on to say that he insisted he “wouldn’t spend another nickel” with “Celebrity Apprentice”.

Lemonis told POMA journalists that he apologized for his comments made in haste and that they came from a lack of understanding or education on hunting. He first saw the photos when TMZ sent them to ask him for his comment on the pictures. At first he was shocked, but after he had time to think and educate himself on hunting he felt his chose his words poorly. “I never had a position on anti-hunting, I had a reaction,” Lemonis said. “This is an apology. I wasn’t making anti-hunting statements, but I was misquoted. I am 100 percent okay and in favor of legal hunting and fishing.”

While Lemonis has never been hunting, he sees himself as an outdoor enthusiast who mostly camps and has been fishing a few times. “I want to celebrate all outdoors recreational experiences. I realize my reaction created a divide…. As a non-hunter, I could be caught off-guard.” Lemonis said his immediate reaction was to be upset by the pictures because as a non-hunter, he is not aware what happens in the sport and in the lifestyle. “I was nervous about how other people, who are uneducated or informed, would react if they got caught off guard.

Lemonis even went on to express his interest in learning to hunt, but said that it would have to be in a safe, well-controlled environment. He turned down an offer to go hunting for the first time from his hunting-advocate friend Ted Nugent as he jokingly said he wants to learn to hunt in a “quieter” environment.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • Deerslayer

     At my resort where camping is all we do, I only advertise Scheels for my customers to buy from. I will never refer someone to camping world. It appears camping world must be living in a dream world where it is safer to camp in your living room.

  • LUV HUNTIN

    Sounded like an easy way out to me, his 1st reaction is what he thinks. I’ll leave it there

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501487627 Sean McGee

    Fishing a few times? I understand some not being hunters. I wasn’t raised in a hunting family and only took it up later in life. But, EVERYBODY who does anything in the outdoors, especially related to camping, has been fishing MORE than a few times. Calling BS on this one.

  • wap-iti

    PC Pansy. No Camping World for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003275584810 Laurie Lee Dovey

    I was one of the folks who said I would not do biz with CW anymore, after 35 years of being a customer, because of the comments. I have completely changed my stance — after a 90 minute conversation with Lemonis and after sitting in on the press conference yesterday.

    The story and situation goes even deeper than Agnieszka/Outdoor Hub is able to report here, because it’s complicated.

    After the call, I understood the situation and how Lemonis/Camping World was blindsided by a lack of communication from the producers of The Celebrity Apprentice, people with whom CW
     has done business for many years.

    Standing before the hunting industry media took courage, and he’s reached out to top mentors in the industry to learn the culture and facts about hunting and conservation.As hard-core hunters and fishermen, I believe we should open our arms to folks like Lemonis, who do not hunt or fish, but want to learn about our culture and wildlife conservation. Let’s welcome and work with them, educate them. We could end up recruiting more outdoorsmen/women.

    IMO, our sports and industry stand to gain far more by bridging gaps than by punishing someone who simply doesn’t have the facts. If once educated, they stand against our sports — that’s different. What isn’t reported here: Camping World/Lemonis are joining hunting/fishing focused organizations to further their knowledge and connect with our industry.The full audio of the press conference will be available later today (Mar. 22) at the Professional Outdoor Media Association website http://www.professionaloutdoormedia.org. I hope you’ll listen to it all… before passing final judgement.

    • Steve McGrew

      Laurie.. this guy is a non hunter,that’s fine..However he is also Anti hunting and  he took an Anti hunting stance in a very public way. Marcus Lemonin  damaged CW’s image within the hunting community and will not be forgiven so easily.IMO, and the opinion of many others I have been speaking with, The feeling is that the only reason he met with you and changed his stance was so he could save his own ass…

        This guy is a two faced fool. He is not fooling anyone and I am surprised and,frankly, a bit disappointed that you are defending him..While I understand the importance of the political gain via media hype his reversal on this issue brings,the  bottom line is that Marcus Lemonis is just covering his own butt. I do not believe that Marcus cares abut hunters nor hunting,it is the fear of losing his job,and only that,which motivated his latest statements. It sad that CW will suffer the brunt of his foolish statements,maybe Marcus should crawl back under the rock from which he emerged and let someone else  lead CW into a pro hunter/pro hunting business.

  • Gary Kellems

    Screw him, he showed his true colors with his initial response. Crisis doesn’t build character, it revels it.

  • Gorgebirds

    I agree with Laurie Lee Dovey, the divide between hunters and non-hunters is based on a lack of understanding of the positions on each side. If all of the people and groups that love the outdoors would band together to work to preserve and protect the wildlands and wildlife that we all love we could get much more accomplished. Habitat protection and restoration projects benefit both the hunting-fishing community and the non-consumptive outdoors people. Access to and the protection of public lands is among the issues both groups have in common and a combined voice would carry much more weight with politicians. I am an avid birder as well as a hunter and fisherman and work with people on both sides as a volunteer on National Wildlife Refuges and salmon stream restoration habitat projects.

    • Jdice

      While I agree, in the abstract, with your comments, in the real world the fact is that I am sick and tired of being attacked, again and again, by people/organizations who wish to take away one or more of facets of my (law abiding) freedom. While I was raised to “turn the other cheek” and would like to do so now – I believe that doing so would be the act of fool. Bottom line, Good Sam and Camping World will not get another penny from me as long as Mr. Lemonis is in a position of authority in either organization.

    • Gary da Ranger

      When you say things like “preserve” (the non-use of resources) my spider sences get tingling. It sounds more like a non-hunter word. I think the wiser choice of word would have been to use “conserve” (wise use of resources).

  • Wally1

    Really,  the anti-hunting crowd has a mental defect from lack of meat protien. Without hunting, those against it would not exist!

  • Scotty1111

    One more reason to not join Good Sam’s……