Metallica’s James Hetfield at Center of Outrage Over Kodiak Bear Hunting Show (Updated)
By Jay Tilles
Update: Richard Fraser, creator of the “Remove Metallica from Glastonbury” Facebook page, spoke to Radio.com about the reasoning behind his creation of the page.
“The Hunt which is being broadcast at the same time as the festival is on,” Fraser explained to Radio.com. “This gives the The Hunt extra credence and tacit support because every time Metallica gets mentioned in the context of Glastonbury Festival by a magazine or article anywhere they will almost certainly mention in passing that James Hetfield is also fronting the show. This is perfectly sensible for any journalist to do and to be expected. Journalists would not be doing their job if they did not report this kind of information.
“This is not hunting for the table, for food or survival. Bear meat can be eaten but it rarely is,” Fraser added. “Nor is hunting for conservation although its supporters say it is. The Kodiak Bear Hunt is done using ‘traditional’ methods, long/compound bow and Black Powder single shot rifles. These rarely result in a ‘clean kill’ as you would get from a high velocity hunting rifle. Often the animal is wounded and is put through a great deal of pain that they may or may not survive. Animals that have been wounded are far more dangerous than healthy ones.”
According to Fraser, this fight has little to do with Hetfield.
“I would like to add that this is not particularly against Metallica, I would do the same if any other band found itself in the same position With fame comes responsibility and much as I applaud the work that James and the other members of the band has done in other causes, this dose [sic] not let them off the hook in this case. It is also a great opportunity for them to stand up for a cause and make a statement against Big Game Hunting.”
But while some might find Hetfield’s narration a reason to watch the show, others are not so happy he’s participating at all.
The Hunt has already caused early outrage from animal rights activists even before its premiere, resulting in an online petition to have the band removed from their headlining slot at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
A Facebook group called “Remove Metallica from Glastonbury Festival for their support of Bear Hunting” was created by one outraged festivalgoer following the network’s announcement.
Adding more than 9,000 likes since its May 25 launch, Richard Fraser, the page’s creator, states that “Metallica’s lead singer James Hetfield is a big game hunter and promoter. This is incompatible with Glastonbury Festivals ideals.” Collectively, supporters are urging that Metallica be removed from the festival’s lineup.
Supporters of Metallica’s removal fear the extra attention the media will give the TV show.
Despite the Alaskan laws in favor of regulated sport hunting, others alongside the Facebook group are not pleased with the show glorifying the killing of wild bears.
“Wow–last Metallica anything I will watch or buy. Had no idea they supported this crap. That’s all we need–another Ted Nugent…..” one commenter wrote. Another added that he and others were thinking of protesting Heavy MTL in Montreal, where Metallica is playing the main stage.
Multiple posters took to Twitter to vent their frustrations as well, including user @BladeNeon, who called for a boycott of the band and also unfavorably compared Hetfield to Ted Nugent.
Meanwhile, @spadzjE expressed the frustration of being an animal lover and a fan of Metallica “since the beginning.”
The History Channel paints a different picture.
“Strictly regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, every year thousands of hunters apply for one of 496 tags that are given via a lottery system,” explained an announcement from the network, who will air the series. “While getting a bear is no easy task, most hunters still value time-honored traditions by hunting with bow-and-a , black powder single-shot rifles, and/or use the minimum amount of technology possible. Honoring the animal is paramount and taught to all hunters who come to the island. Hunters have an ethical and legal responsibility to strive for clean kills that is taken very seriously. There are pages of stringent regulations they must follow that ensure respect for the animal and the land.”
The series will premiere this Sunday, June 8, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the History Channel.