The news of Cecil the Lion’s killing in Zimbabwe has travelled around the world. It has reached gold-plating company Goldgenie who decided to push out a limited edition version of its gold-plated HTC One M9 with an engraving of Cecil along with the inscription ‘For Cecil and his Kingdom’.
The release of the £1,580 handset has brought a mixed reaction from the technology community, with some outraged that the company appears to be jumping on the Cecil the Lion bandwagon to make a quick buck, while others have praised the decision to donate 10 per cent of each sale to Friends of Hwange, a charity that helps the running of the park in which Cecil was killed.
We spoke to Goldgenie who said ‘The idea for the limited edition Cecil the Lion HTC M9 was a spontaneous reaction to the sickening killing of the endangered beautiful creature in Zimbabwe last month. We are proud of the viral online impact it has had in achieving further conversation surrounding Cecil and links throughout the Internet pointing directly to Friends of Hwange.’
Responding to the wave of criticism that came in the wake of the announcement, Goldgenie continued. saying ‘Our intentions were and are honourable and we simply applied a charitable initiative to what we do, which is Gold embellishing phones and lifestyle accessories. Our ultimate hope is that our campaign has raised awareness of Friends of Hwange and that the charity benefits from sales of the phone and direct donations as a result.’
Goldgenie is treading an uncomfortable line between raising money for a charitable cause but also profiting from an inhumane act but the donation to charity without raising the price seems to have rescued the company from too much online fury that certainly would have sparked if they were using Cecil’s image purely for their own gain.
What do you think? Have Goldgenie done a good or a bad thing in releasing this Cecil the Lion HTC One M9?