Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has been accused of scoring a “massive own goal” after his company launched an outdoor sports television platform in the UK which includes bloodsports and hunting shows.
My Outdoor TV has been available in the United States since 2016 and has recently been launched in the UK.
The channel, which operates in a similar way to other streaming services such as Netflix, is run by Outdoor Sportsman Group, which is part of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE).
Kroenke, 70, owns over 67 per cent of Premier League side Arsenal, as well as the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team and NFL franchise the Los Angeles Rams.
My Outdoor TV, which charges subscribers a 9.99 US dollars a month, claims to show “thousands of hunting, fishing and shooting episodes featuring the biggest names in outdoor TV...how-to videos and even wild game recipes.”
The launch has been condemned by Philippa King, the chief operating officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, who has called on the Outdoor Sportsman Group to “tread carefully” with its UK platform.
“This is a massive own goal for Stan Kroenke,” King said in a statement.
“We’re living in a world now where most people can see how brutal and shameful trophy-hunting is, yet the Arsenal boss is choosing to launch his sick TV channel in the UK.
“The channel claims to show ‘ethical, fair chase and legal’ hunting. Most people won’t agree that trophy-hunting is in any way ethical, and studies have debunked claims that most of the blood money goes towards supporting conservation. I’m not sure in what way an idiot with a gun against an elephant is a fair chase.
“And yes, the hunting they show might be legal - though if they start showing hunting in the UK they’ll have to tread very carefully.
“Hunts claim to be trail-hunting when they chase foxes, stags and hares, but we’ve shown that the vast majority of trail-hunting is just a false alibi for the actual hunting and killing of animals. If this channel starts showing trail-hunting, they’ll be on very rocky ground.
“Mr Kroenke could do the world a great favour by stopping peddling this kind of sickening TV and turning his focus on helping animals.”
KSE has been contacted by the Press Association for a reaction to King’s comments, while My Outdoor TV has already moved to defend its programming, with the channel’s spokesman Simon Barr telling the Independent: “MOTV will present ethical, fair chase hunting and as long as it’s legal it will be on there.
“If you like hunting elephants, there will be legal elephant hunts, ethical elephant hunts, shown in that context.”
Kroenke rejected a takeover bid for Arsenal from Russian billionaire and minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov in May before handing Gunners boss Arsene Wenger a new two-year contract.
The move was controversial, following earlier protests against Wenger’s continued reign, but Kroenke said Wenger had the “full backing” of the Arsenal board.