Embattled female hunter Kendall Jones has confirmed to Grand View Outdoors that Facebook officials deleted photos from the teen's social media account after protesters objected to her African safari kills.
Facebook claims the photos promoted illegal hunting despite Jones' captions explaining each shot was taken legally, or was not even of a big game kill.
“We remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals … or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse,” a Facebook spokesman told Grand View Outdoors. “Certain content, which some may find offensive, can be used to spread awareness, and we welcome dialogue about animal abuse, hunting and other issues."
But the Jones representative said Facebook overreacted and could have endangered an investigation into death threats against the 19 year-old hunter by posters on her social media page.
“Facebook did remove several photos,” Jones spokesman Justin Cook confirmed. “One photo in particular was of a rhino being treated by a veterinarian. The rhino sustained wounds during a lion attack, and the veterinarian was treating the wounded animal. The caption below the photo explained the rhino was in fact not dead, but being tended to. Another photo was just a profile photo of Kendall in her camo. It depicted no blood, no animals, no nothing. It was just a photo of Kendall and they removed it."
An unintended consequence of Facebook's move could be that it makes an investigation into criminal threats against Jones difficult if not impossible, Cook explained. The FBI field office in Dallas is having trouble tracking down these threats because the photos and their content have been removed. Moreover, Jones' Instagram account was taken down, as well as a Support Kendall page that had amassed nearly 80,000 fans in just 13 hours.
“Her reaction has been one of caution, but she is unwavering," Cook said of Jones. "She understands what she did was 100 percent legal and conducted in a manner which aids in wildlife conservation efforts."
"Kendall comes from a family with a solid foundation and it will take more than a few keyboard warriors to rattle her cage," he added.
And despite the death threats and bullying from her Facebook posts, Jones intends to keep the hunt on.
“She plans to do more hunting in Africa as well as many other countries around the globe," Jones said. "The timeline and species surrounding those trips will be kept confidential to ensure her safety, the safety of her production crew, her trackers, guides, and professional hunters."