Earlier this month, Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, went lion hunting in Africa. He killed one during a hunt with a bow and arrow. Only there was one problem: the lion was a popular zoo attraction and had been lured out of the zoo, just for Palmer’s killing pleasure.
Palmer has declared that he was duped, that he paid for a legitimate lion hunting trip, where it is legal to do so. And he has apologized.
No matter. If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you may have noticed that Palmer is getting the sort of “respect” normally given to Pol Pot or Ted Bundy.
While most people have no problem eating killed animals, they have a huge problem with someone killing good-looking, stately animals, for fun.
Palmer is receiving death threats galore. His dental practice has been destroyed on Yelp. It’s hard to imagine even a Palmer friend wanting to be seen coming out of Palmer’s dental practice for fear of having blood thrown on them.
Personally and professionally, Palmer is facing a crisis being magnified by traditional and social media.
How should he handle this crisis?
He’s tried an apology. That didn’t work. Going on a 6 week vacation is unlikely to reduce the anger directed his way.
If I were Palmer’s crisis adviser, I’d recommend that he move to Africa and volunteer his dentistry services to the poor and needy for a year. Then move back to America, write a book about his experiences, go on Good Morning America, and donate the proceeds to a non-profit devoted to helping animals in Africa.
Then, Palmer might be able to re-start his life again. Until then, Palmer will be a hunted man.
TJ Walker is President of Media Training Worldwide www.mediatrainingworldwide.com +1.212.764.4955