A Change.org petition urging a boycott of the Beach Boys for co-headlining a safari hunters’ convention with Donald Trump Jr. this week has picked up a couple of notable signatories: two of the group’s founding members, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine.
“It has been brought to my attention that on Wed., Feb. 5, the Beach Boys touring group licensed by Mike Love are headlining at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada,” Wilson wrote in a tweet. “This organization supports trophy hunting, which both Al and I are emphatically opposed to. There’s nothing we can do personally to stop the show, so please join us in signing the petition,” he added.
The Safari Club International had previously responded to statements against the gathering posted by the Humane Society by reaffirming its pride in having “acclaimed author and accomplished conservationist Donald Trump Jr.” as its keynote speaker at the convention, being held in Reno Feb. 5-8.
Monday night, Variety obtained a statement from Love, in response to the petition and Wilson’s support of it: “We look forward to a night of great music in Reno and, as always, support freedom of thought and expression as a fundamental tenet of our rights as Americans. Peace & Love, Mike Love.”
The Change.org petition, under the headline “Tell the Beach Boys to Say No to Trophy Hunting!,” includes a long-publicized photo of Donald Trump Jr. and his brother, Eric, posing with a dead leopard. As of late Monday afternoon, the five-day-old petition had 64,000 signatures.
The petition, started by Eduardo Goncalves, says that the convention “is the world’s biggest wildlife killing market — a staggering 870 companies will be selling trophy hunting holidays and wildlife body parts including animal heads this year.” The open letter section of the entreaty endorsed by Wilson and Jardine reads: “Dear Beach Boys Manager Elliott Lott: We the undersigned pledge to stop buying or downloading all Beach Boys music, going to Beach Boys concerts, and purchasing any Beach Boys merchandise until the Beach Boys withdraw from the SCI Convention and publicly state their opposition to this sick ‘sport’ of killing animals for ‘fun.’ We will call on the Beach Boys’ record label, agent and publicists to disown the Beach Boys, and on members of the public to protest at forthcoming Beach Boys concerts, unless they do so.”
Factions of the Beach Boys have often been at odds over the years, but Wilson and Jardine toured with Love and other original members as part of a 50th anniversary tour in 2012 before going their separate ways again. They last came together to promote the Beach Boys’ satellite radio channel in 2018. Love has the rights to use the group’s name on tour. Some fans have been critical of Love for being friendly with the president and attending his inauguration, although he has said the group is politically neutral.
Reps for Mike Love and the Beach Boys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Wilson and Jardine are on their own separate long-running tour, under Wilson’s name as a solo artist, also spotlighting the Beach Boys’ material; they’re currently on the Cayamo music cruise and could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for the SCI passed along a statement in response to the petition that refers to protests in general but not to the Beach Boys specifically. It says the organization “is and always will be equally dedicated to both the conservation of wildlife and the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. As such, we support the right of anti-hunting petitioners to protest our convention, but we hope they understand how much more they could achieve by working with us instead of against us. Each year, the hunters that make up our chapters do more for wildlife and the conservation of species and habitats than any online petition will ever do.”