'Arsenal deserve no criticism' but Kroenke bows to pressure regarding bloodsport channel

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The Gunners owner faced fierce criticism in the wake of controversial content being made available in the UK, but has now asked for it to be removed

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has reacted to criticism of a controversial hunting channel by asking for all bloodsport content to be removed.

My Outdoor TV, which is run by Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG), has been available in the United States since 2016 and can now be accessed by a UK audience.

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The channel has been widely condemned, with Labour leader and Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn among those to air his disgust and call for Kroenke to take action.

Those complaints have been acknowledged, with the billionaire businessman instructing OSG to take action.

Chief executive Jim Liberatore said in a statement: "Outdoor Sportsman Group is dedicated to serving audiences around the world interested in the outdoors.

"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."

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Liberatore went on to distance the channel and its content from Arsenal, saying: "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.

"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.

Kroenke

"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."

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While Arsenal have been dragged into the debate through their association with Kroenke, Arsene Wenger insists that the furore has had no impact on his preparations for the 2017-18 campaign.

He told reporters on Thrusday: "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.”

"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 any more information on that."

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