Back at the end of January, the Dallas Safari Club sent out the head-scratchingest press release in the history of ever: Said the release, it won't tolerate companies using its conventions to sell "child sex tourism" as part of their "international hunting and fishing excursions." Who said what now? But now we know why the release went out: ABC World News with Diane Sawyer's about to air an undercover investigation during which a tour operator promises just that: "You can do whatever the fuck you want." And, wuh-oh: ABC reporters Dan Harris and James Wang (OK now) encountered the operator "at a convention sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club."
I called Dallas Safari Club executive director Ben Carter this afternoon -- to see if he'd seen the story and to find out if this is why he sent out the press release. Turns out, yes, he'd just scanned the piece, and, yes, the board got together in January when it first heard about these allegations and decided "to get out ahead of the story."
"We were told at that time that this activity was occurring, and we had really never heard of it before, to be honest," says Carter, who tells Unfair Park he was never contacted by ABC and has never been given the name of anyone selling child-sex tourist packages at its conventions. "So we called a board meeting and determined the best thing to do was to come forward and say we are not aware anything like this has occurred, and if it has, we find it despicable and deplorable. ... No one came to our organization and asked us anything or has told us anything."