The female huntress was lambasted by the comedian on Twitter and Facebook when he posted a picture of her lying next to the corpse of a giraffe she had just killed with the caption: “What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?”
What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling? pic.twitter.com/DyYw1T5ck2; Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 13, 2015
Her hunting activities infuriated thousands, some of whom began bombarding Francis with death threats. One disturbing message underneath a post about a hunt read: “Can I come? But the only bullet I'll be using is the one I put in your head.”
Francis released a defiant second statement via Hunting Life on Friday, where she vowed to never apologise for being a huntress.
“Ricky Gervais has used his power and influence to specifically target women in the hunting industry and has sparked thousands of people to call for my death, the death of my family and many other women who hunt,” her statement said.
“This has evolved into an issue about the morality of threatening human lives over disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs. It shocks me that people who claim to be so loving and caring for animals can turn around and threaten to murder and rape my children.
“I am proud to call myself a hunter. I am proud to be a woman in the hunting industry. I am proud to be a mother. I will never apologise for these things.”
The mother-of-eight insisted hunters contribute “the most” to the welfare of wildlife, positing hunting as crucial to the balance of nature.
Francis, 41, boasts about the range of animals she has killed on her website, listing bears, lynx, alaskan moose and deer as among the species of animals she has hunted.
On Tuesday, she responded to international criticism with a statement claiming she had been asked to “preserve” the elderly giraffe by shooting it and providing locals with “food and other means of survival”.
Gervais was not appeased by this claim.
After killing that giraffe out of the kindness of her heart and feeding the poor locals she had these for pudding. pic.twitter.com/P3nP4ACDKI; Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 16, 2015
This Tofu & Rice was old and sad and wanted me to kill it. Now I will eat it. pic.twitter.com/5vsstpUZaL; Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 16, 2015
Francis’ statement concluded: “I repeat: I will never apologise for being a woman who hunts as I know that my passion for hunting and conservation is making a direct difference on the ground for wildlife.”