Rogue Rubin’s brave, secret labor behind the camera offers us a unique look into the world of trophy hunting, where wealthy people—mainly men, mostly Americans and Europeans, some sporting Hemingway beards—pay to kill while on safari.
A liberal vegetarian from Melbourne named Rubin plays Joni Kiser, a pro-hunting enthusiast and aspiring photographer, in the movie “The Hunt for Justice.” She initially makes bogus social media accounts under a fictitious identity.
Then Rubin poses as an intern working for a large game hunter in Africa to go undercover. Bob, an American on safari with his college-age daughter, kills a wild lion during a particularly dreadful hunt.
He wields a powerful rifle, just like all hunters, thus the battle is far from fair. What’s unsettling is the story Bob invents to defend the killing: in his mind, the lion is a “problem cat” who must be saved by defending the locals. “Do they need the support of an American dad?” snarks Rubin. Bob poses for pictures with his catch before heading to the taxidermist.
Rubin’s criticism on a few occasions is a little overdone, and she makes a few broad generalizations about Africa. However, after the 1994 release of The Lion King by Disney, half of Africa’s lion population has vanished. Lions are considered to be susceptible to extinction.
The largest concern isn’t trophy hunting; rather, it’s habitat destruction brought on by human encroachment, bushmeat trade, and farmers murdering lions to protect livestock. Rubin examines the controversy surrounding trophy hunting, revealing that not all conservationists are against it.
The clearest example of this is a footage of talk show presenter Jimmy Kimmel discussing the 2015 killing of one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved lions by a Minnesota dentist. In reality, her film is an exposé of the brains and mentalities of trophy hunters. Are you that desperate for an erection that you need to slaughter things?
This article by Cath Clarke was first published by The Guardian on 26 July 2022. Lead Image: Going Rogue … Lion Spy. Photograph: Joni Rubin.
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