*Recent Tweet by Ricky Gervis
Rebecca Francis has been famous in hunting circles since 2010, when the photogenic Utah native won the obscure reality show “Extreme Huntress.”
But now she’s famous in the wider world as well, thanks to comedian Ricky Gervais.
Last week, Gervais, a dedicated animal-rights activist with more than 7 million Twitter followers, came upon a photo of Francis posing next to a giraffe she had just killed, a big smile spread across her face. The result: a tweet heard ’round the world.
“What must’ve happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling?”
Ricky Gervais ✔ @rickygervais
People outraged by Francis’ apparently cavalier attitude toward killing wildlife expressed their disgust on social media and beyond.
Stunned by the criticism, Francis struck back, accusing Gervais of sexism. “Ricky Gervais has used his power and influence to specifically target women in the hunting industry and has sparked thousands of people to call for my death, the death of my family and many other women who hunt,” she said in a statement. She added: “I repeat I will never apologize for being a woman who hunts as I know that my passion for hunting and conservation is making a direct difference on the ground for wildlife.”
In the wake of Gervais’ giraffe tweet, a few people on Twitter did call for violence toward Francis. Some of Francis’ supporters have also suggested violence is the answer. One hunting enthusiast tweeted: “@rickygervais a real hunter would shoot idiots like you for the greater good of society.” Gervais retweeted it.
On her website, Francis boasts of having “taken” bears, moose, sheep, zebra and many other animals with both bows and rifles, and of mentoring other women who are interested in hunting. “For me, there is nothing more empowering than sharing that special moment of success with another female who is chasing her dreams,” she writes.
Gervais responded to Francis’ sexism claim by tweeting as if he were Francis: “I kill lions, giraffes & bears with guns and bows and arrows then pose grinning. Why don’t people like me? Must be because they’re sexist.” He then highlighted male hunters too, employing his usual un-PC humor.
Such as Tweeting, “Maybe he was hungry,” under this photo:
Francis has gone quiet in recent days, but Gervais, whose Twitter feed often features his house cat Ollie, gives no indication that he’s done.