Camping World CEO Defends Himself Against Anti-Hunting Accusations

   03.21.12

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.

Read More