Arsenal shareholder Stan Kroenke orders removal of big-game hunting content
Stan Kroenke has ordered the removal of all big-game hunting content from his controversial streaming service.
Arsenal's majority shareholder came in for intense criticism earlier this week after the UK launch of the subscription service
My Outdoor TV has been available in the United States since 2016 and is now available in the UK.
The channel, which operates in a similar way to other streaming services such as Netflix, is run by Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG), which is part of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment.
Kroenke, 70, owns over 67 per cent of Premier League side Arsenal, as well as the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team and NFL franchise the Los Angeles Rams.
My Outdoor TV, which charges subscribers a 9.99 US dollars a month, claims to show ''thousands of hunting, fishing and shooting episodes featuring the biggest names in outdoor TV... how-to videos and even wild game recipes.''
But after the channel was widely condemned, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "disgusted" with the content, Kroenke has instructed for certain hunting programming to be removed.
"Outdoor Sportsman Group is dedicated to serving audiences around the world interested in the outdoors," OSG chief executive Jim Liberatore said in a statement.
"In the past few days, there has been significant public attention to a small portion of programming on our MyOutdoorTV app that contains content associated with hunting certain big game animals.
"While many on both sides of this issue have made their voices heard, and this content is only available through paid subscriptions, Stan Kroenke has directed us to remove all content related to those animals in light of the public interest."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said on Thursday that the backlash against Kroenke would not impact on his players heading into the new Premier League season.
"We are professional football people and I think what it means to be professional is to focus on your job and the strength of professional people is not to be diverted by noises that are not their problem," he said.
"I cannot judge because I don't know what's going on, I have not been informed about that and so I cannot give you anymore information on that."
Liberatore went on to separate the channel from Arsenal and all of Kroenke's other investments and defended the businessmen's previous support for animal welfare.
"Outdoor Sportsman Group properties operate independently from unrelated companies that our parent owns - as do all of the parent's other business and sports interests," he said.
"Arsenal Football Club has nothing to do with any of our media outlets. It has nothing to do with our content or the editorial decisions we make. We deserve no credit when an Arsenal striker scores a goal. Arsenal deserves no criticism when we offer a program with which some disagree.
"Second, we have made our content decisions independently of our parent company. Our parent had no input into these past decisions, and they have none now.
"All those who value the freedom of media outlets to set their own editorial courses should both recognize and respect this. We are grateful that our parent gives us this freedom.
"Even so, in this one instance, Mr. Kroenke directed us to make the changes explained above. He has a decades-long track record of environmental stewardship, working with conservationists, hydrologists, microbiologists, and others to responsibly manage habitat and enhance wildlife preservation.
"We also take conservation seriously, and dedicate programming to this issue and to anti-poaching efforts specifically."
Kroenke rejected a takeover bid for Arsenal from Russian billionaire and minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov in May before handing Wenger a new two-year contract.
The move was controversial, following earlier protests against Wenger's continued reign, but Kroenke said Wenger had the ''full backing'' of the Arsenal board.