Walter J. Palmer has never hidden the fact that he enjoys big game hunting. The membership records for The Safari Club lists 43 kills by bow and arrow under his name. There are even photos of Palmer with some of his kills, including a lion. Not the lion, though. Not the lion that has since ruined Palmer’s reputation, dental practice and probably the next few years of his life.
According to The Guardian, Palmer hunted and killed a prized lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe earlier this month. That particular lion wore a tracking tag as part of a university study so it was easy to locate his remains. After his identity was revealed by the paper, Palmer admitted to killing “a lion” on his recent hunting trip but added,
“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
The local professionals are already facing charges and Zimbabwe officials are now hunting for Palmer so they can prosecute him for poaching as well.
Whether or not Palmer is legally liable for his actions is a matter for the courts. The court of public opinion has already tried and convicted him on social media and on Yelp.
Since Palmer is a dentist with a business listing on Yelp, angry protestors decided to use the online review system to express their feelings about the situation. Many went with a sarcastic twist while others threatened to do to the dentist what he did to Cecil the lion.
Yelp has been playing “finger in the dike” all day, deleting one review after another. But for every one they delete, ten more pop up and now Yelp’s reputation is in trouble, too. Posters say that by removing these angry posts, it’s as if Yelp is defending Dr. Palmer.
Yelp says they’re just upholding their own terms of service.
Can I report a review if it looks like it was posted in response to a news story rather than a personal consumer experience?
Yelpers should share the full range of their likes and dislikes about a business as long as they relate to their own experiences as a consumer. Comments and concerns about stories in the news should be directed to Yelp Talk, not a consumer review.
If you see a questionable review, please report it. Our moderators will typically focus on whether the reviewer describes a personal consumer experience with the business being reviewed or if it is overshadowed by other commentary.
One Yelper was suspicious, saying that Yelp only just added that page today so they could respond to this issue. If Yelp is all about helping consumers make an informed decision, should that decision include comments on a business owners life choices?
Some would say that it’s unfair to judge a dentist, plumber, or store owner by the things he does in his off hours. Fair or not, in the internet age, your business lives or dies by the choices you make both on the clock and off. If you choose to engage in a controversial activity, it’s just a matter of time before it affects your business.
What do you think of those turning to Yelp to voice their disgust?