British journalist Piers Morgan attempted to shame a 12-year-old American girl for trophy hunting during an interview in September 2016, asking her how she would feel if he were to kill her pet cat.
Aryanna Gourdin and her father, Eli, appeared via video on Morgan’s Good Morning Britain wearing “Stand Up to Hunter Bullying” T-shirts.
The pair had previously drawn the ire of anti-hunting activists after they posted photos of their trophy hunting trips in South Africa.
The posts included snapshots of Aryanna posing with a dead giraffe and a zebra.
One of the best hunts I’ve ever been on I’ll see you next year Africa😝❤️ pic.twitter.com/Nu9C7xnyJR
— Aryanna Gourdin (@AryannaGourdin) August 10, 2016
— Aryanna Gourdin (@AryannaGourdin) August 15, 2016
“Why do you like hunting big game in the way that you do?” Morgan, a strident anti-gun activist, asked the pair.
Aryanna, who has reportedly received death threats over the photos, responded by saying she enjoys “the taste of the meat” from the animals she hunts.
The young girl also defended her hunting trips, telling the former CNN host that hunting is part of a longstanding family tradition, and she treats the animals with respect. Her father also stated she prays for the animals.
Taking issue with Aryanna’s posing for hunting photos, Morgan and his co-host, Susanna Reid, insinuated the 12-year-old takes pleasure in killing.
“Why celebrate and glory in the slaughter of such fabulous animals?” he asked.
Gourdin stepped in to defend his daughter, telling Morgan that celebrating taking down big game is a tribal tradition in parts of South Africa, and the photo taken of the giraffe hunt was requested by locals. “There’s always remorse when any animal’s life is taken,” he said.
Morgan disagreed, declaring, “From where I’m looking, there’s just a kind of sickening sense of glory and triumphalism.”
The former CNN host then brought up Facebook photos of Aryanna cuddling her pet cat, and demanded: “How would you feel if I came to your house one day and I hunted down your pet cat and I killed it, and I then posted pictures of me celebrating the slaughter of your pet cat?”
Eli Gourdin responded, “I think that’s a trick question, because that giraffe wasn’t your pet.”
A visibly unsettled Morgan interjected that “there’s a real weird situation where you have these pictures of these slaughtered animals and then you have lots of cuddly pictures of this nice cat.”
The 12-year-old asked: “So, I’m not allowed to have pets because I hunt?”
“No,” Morgan snapped, “I’m just saying, how would you feel if I came and I killed your pet cat and I posted pictures of me celebrating the killing? Would you like it?”
“That would be your choice. I’ve never killed a pet and most hunters don’t kill pets,” Gourdin responded. The father also blamed the outcry on a “lack of education” about wildlife conservation.
Lamenting Morgan’s “derogatory” question, Gourdin associated the liberal host’s uncivil tone with some of the threatening comments he and his daughter have received on social media.
“That just falls back onto the same kind of people who are putting those kind of comments on Facebook about killing another human being. How can people even process those kinds of things in their mind?” he said.
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