Alamo Drafthouse head cheese Tim League has cancelled the feral hog hunt from the lineup of forthcoming Fantastic Fest activities.
For $1540 per person, you could be outfitted with a semi-automatic assault rifle, get on board a helicopter with League, and shoot feral, wild hogs from said helicopter with said rifle. Said hogs would be consumed at the Fantastic Fest closing night party. Only five seats were available on the chopper. You needed to have a hunting license, a mandatory one-hour safety course, be free of any felony conviction or any charge barring the possession of a firearm and be under 260 lbs.
Fantastic Fest has done this before. Except this year, a change.org petition titled “Cancel The Hog Killing Event At Fantastic Fest!” was circulated soon after this year’s event was announced. As of Sept. 17, it had 1,179 signatures.
Thurday afternoon, League posted on the Fantastic Fest site canceling the hunt.
Here is the post in full:
“First off, I wanted to thank everyone for expressing their comments on the recent Change.org petition about our scheduled aerial hog hunt. Anyone close to me knows that I really love to discuss issues; I love to debate.
I apologize to anyone who was offended by offering up this experience to our visiting festival guests. At Fantastic Fest, we like to play to Texan stereotypes in good fun. Other events this year are trips to Cabellas, Smitty’s Barbecue, Texas Hatters, a shotgun range and even Buckee’s. For better or for worse, hundreds of thousands of feral hogs are killed by recreational hunters each year in private aerial hunts. This style of hunting is a major part of culling the Texas hog infestation and happens across our state with or without Fantastic Fest’s participation.
That said, the tone of our copy for our event was undeniably wrong, and it is quite valid to assert that even if you are in support of aerial hunting, perhaps it is best left to professionals. I’ll leave the discussion of the practice itself for later (see below).
I’ve enjoyed the conversation, and I’ve gained some valuable new perspective. I always want to listen to our guests and consider their opinions, so I am hereby canceling the hog hunt. Thanks also to Change.org in general for simply existing as an effective vehicle for discussion, raising awareness and enabling change, big and small. For those that are opposed to aerial hog hunting, I encourage you to continue your efforts and lobby the Texas state legislature to overturn the law.
As a final chapter, at the Fantastic Debates during the festival this year I will personally be debating on the topic: “Resolved: Shooting feral hogs from helicopters is unethical and wrong.” I’ll be arguing the negative with an as-of-yet unnamed opponent. I will not, however, be fighting Patrik Baboumian as some of you suggested. I am game but not suicidal. We’re still looking for a debater, so if you are keen or know someone who is, please leave a comment on our Facebook page.”