US firm backtracks on Botswana PR deal following elephant hunting backlash

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

United States-based public relations firm, 42 West, has pulled out of a deal to develop a communication strategy to fight the negative publicity on the decision by Botswana to lift a ban on the hunting of elephants, APA learnt here on Monday.

The Botswana government recently enlisted the public relations firm to push back against the bad publicity generated by its decision to lift its ban on elephant hunting.

But the company said in a statement on Monday that the nature of what it was hired to do for Botswana had been "grossly misrepresented", forcing it to end the relationship.

The firm, known largely for its entertainment work and representing clients such as Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant, was set to be paid US$125,000 for a five-month contract.

It was planning to develop strategic messaging for a new government policy about the hunting of elephants.

But according to US media, the contract with the Botswana authorities placed 42 West in an awkward spot because Hollywood celebrities have spoken out against big game hunting.


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