Tigers and Ethics

I have enough archived HD footage of the San Francisco zoo tiger that this past week got out of its cage, killed a teenager and hurt two more people. Some of you might have seen parts of that footage on my zoo video.

Tonight I got a message by a fellow videographer telling me that I should try and sell my footage to the news TV channels. I replied that this would be a bad idea, and he replied “why? why is this bad?”. And this is what I replied back to him:

“It is inappropriate because it’s an exploitation of the current unfortunate situation. IF I had been selling that footage for months before the accident happened, that would have been ok. But selling it now, after and because of the accident, that’s greedy and it shows a low quality person.”

I hope more people think about their personal ethics before they do the things they do. In the specific situation everyone lost: the tiger got shot, the kid died, two more visitors got hurt, the zoo was closed for days. Everyone lost. And then, here I would be, the smart-ass prick, selling footage and be the only one who gains something from it. Sorry, but no sir. I like my conscience to be clear as day. If shooting and selling footage was my job, I would have pursued a sale, but not under the current conditions.

Update: It’s amazing that there are such low IQ people in the world. Now the guy calls me a hypocrite, because my Vimeo Zoo video uses footage from that tiger. No matter that this video was put together MONTHS before the incident and so it has nothing to do with the ethical dilemma I posed… That guy is so unbelievable! He is either 10 years old, or someone with an IQ below 80. “He will pray for me”, he said… What a fucking joke.

7 Comments »

Ivan wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 1:01 AM PST:

It is a really tragic situation. I remember the rather ominous message someone posted as a reaction to your vidoe saying that zoos are a bad thing. Maybe this tragic accident proves he is right?

On selling the footage, how about this: you sell it, and then donate the money to some good cause, perhaps the victim’s family or perhaps an organization that is lobbying on closing down zoos?


Brendan wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 1:34 AM PST:

I think you are correct. You beleive it would be wrong and really that is all that matters. If you were starving and really strapped for cash then maybe you would see it differently.

I really beleive that people should live by their own moral code and include money into that. It seems that people have a moral code but do not apply it to fiscal matters – ‘it’s business’. It’s not – it’s your life.

Although I was in a situation in the same ‘ball park’ as this. I am a sports photographer and I took some shots of a young man who later died in a terrible accident. After his death several magazines ran features on the man – showing their respects and celebrating his talent. I felt awful for receiving money for these shots and I guess I still don’t.

So maybe I am being a hypocrite in my advice to you!


Ivan wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 2:24 AM PST:

I understand both your predicament: you feel bad about making money because of the suffering of other people. Still, if you continue this line of thought, though, all professional health care providers should feel bad about making money because of the suffering of other people.
The thing is you are talking about the price of information (ie footage or a still image). Sometimes information helps people, like care givers help people, and sometimes it doesn’t. If you compare the tiger footage with your sports images, I think the latter has more ‘help’ value than the tiger footage, because it will help people mourn, while the tiger footage is not (I think).


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 9:02 AM PST:

> all professional health care providers should feel bad about making money because of the suffering of other people.

It is not the same thing. They were there before I got sick, they didn’t jump to take advantage after the fact. It’s their job. That’s what makes my situation different to theirs: that if I were to sell stock footage, it would just be an exploitation of the current situation, not just “doing my job”.


joe bkiw wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 5:02 PM PST:

sell and donate proceeds to the family


Alex Forster wrote on December 31st, 2007 at 2:13 AM PST:

Agreed, sell and donate. It’s an opportunity to make some contacts, and I personally would jump at that.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on December 31st, 2007 at 6:18 PM PST:

I don’t agree. Do you think that their families would accept money made off these tigers? I know my family wouldn’t. They would burn that money instead.


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