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Hunting for Bambi, 2003

In July 2003, Las Vegas TV station KLAS-TV reported that a local company was selling “Bambi Hunts.” These were games in which men with paintball guns hunted naked women in the Nevada desert. Anyone could sign up to join in a "hunt", although it could cost as much as $10,000 per game. An international media frenzy ensued. Numerous critics denounced the hunts, pointing out that a paintball hitting a naked woman could seriously hurt her. Many questioned how such a thing could be legal.

Only after a week did it become widely apparent that there was no evidence the company had conducted any Bambi hunts. The company wasn’t currently accepting customers (it said there was too much negative publicity), and everyone who claimed to have participated in previous hunts was highly unreliable. Further research revealed that the company was only licensed to sell videos. If it had run commercial paintball games, it had done so illegally.

When the Las Vegas authorities threatened to bring charges against the company, its president, Michael Burdick, admitted that no real Bambi hunts had taken place. The story about the hunts had, he said, just been a “hook” to boost sales of a soft-porn video about a fictional Bambi Hunt. The hook worked. Though their stunt almost got them run out of Las Vegas, Burdick’s company sold thousands of copies of the video.

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.