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More on Michael Moore

Written by PETA | June 25, 2007

Michael Moore on the animal rights movement: “This shit makes me want to kick my dog”

Phew. I spent a lot of time this weekend reviewing the hundreds of comments on Friday’s Michael Moore blog, and they’re still coming in! It’s pretty clear that this letter brought out some strong reactions in people—both positive and negative—and that’s always good. I figured it might be a good idea to elaborate on a few issues that have come up as a result of our publicizing Ingrid’s letter.

First of all, if you know Michael Moore, you know he can take it. Seriously. The guy is not going to cry himself to sleep because we offered him some diet advice. For anyone who has seen a Michael Moore documentary or read one of his books, you’ll know that he doesn’t pull punches when it comes to issues he’s passionate about, or miss an opportunity to take a potshot at those he disagrees with. Compared with the letters Michael Moore writes (see, for instance, this letter he wrote to the president), Ingrid’s letter was incredibly polite.

Secondly, I should probably provide a little context to our own relationship with Michael Moore—which goes back a long way. We’ve written to him several times over the years, starting back in the days of Roger & Me with ever-so-polite appeals to embrace animal rights. We don’t hold it against him, but the only response we ever got from him was when his people showed up outside the PETA building with a donkey, two goats, two sheep, a rabbit, a chicken, three dogs, a fish in a bowl(!), a guinea pig, two gerbils, and a rat in a cage “wearing” offensive signs, like “You are wasting your lives.” He arranged to haul these animals out on a hot day to taunt hard-working people just to get a cheap laugh for his show. In addition to that little stunt, whose real victims didn’t even have the luxury of understanding what was happening to them, Michael Moore has made comments throughout his career glorifying meat-eating and hunting, and mocking people who care about animals. Now, neither I nor any of my colleagues take those comments personally—we dish it out, and we can take it. But, like I said, so can Michael Moore.

Michael Moore has never responded with anything but sneering to PETA’s requests that he address animal protection issues in one of his documentaries, but we’re not giving up hope. And, even if he ignores this particular attempt to reach him in his own style—playful and provocative at the same time—we hope that some of the people who hear about this story will get the message: A vegetarian diet is the compassionate choice, it’s the healthy choice, and it’s the right choice—for us and for animals. I’m glad that this letter has given us the opportunity to say that again.

P.S. Judging from some of the comments I read yesterday, I should probably also point out for a few people that “elephant in the room” is an expression that means “an important issue that people are avoiding.” Not, like, an actual pachyderm in someone’s living space. Like this one.

DebbieTomassi/Creative Commons

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  • yogaheather says:

    PETA you are the best! I love that you challenged MM! Keep up the good work… Love and Light

  • Lily says:

    I’m not a huge Michael Moore fan but I really would like to know why PETA chose to distract from the vitally important message of SiCKO. This kind of thing is what makes people turn away from your group chalking you up as childish and ridiculous radicalists don’t care about the well being of people. Health care is a true crisis in this country and to divert attention from the issue is disrespectful to those of us that actually care about PEOPLE as well as animals.

  • Karin Davies says:

    Let us know! What it the best way to contact Michael Moore?

  • sarah says:

    Although clearly the letter comes from the perspective of even negative publicity being worthwhile how narcissistic is that?! I do think the end result will be to discredit PETA and make it look aggressive and childish. However the real elephant in the room is how the social and political context interlinks with animal rights and what a shame it is to miss the chance of PETA and Michael Moore learning from each other. Michael Moore is genuine and focuses on man’s inhumanity to man socially and politically speaking and that is oh so close to man’s inhumanity to animal life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking there is no connection between a CEO relocating manufacturing to a third world country and the brutality of factory farming. Both stem from an economic system of profit at all cost coupled with psychological alienation. The way I see it Michael Moore is a potential ally and any dialogue could be very productive but not if it is reduced to insults based on appearance.

  • Nylene Schoellhorn says:

    I was REALLY hoping that this article of yours MORE on MOOREwas going to be a statement that PETA was sorry for attacking Michael Moore. Insteadnew excuses for your out of nowhere attack. Your senseless attack on Moore is going to get NO ONE to stop eating meat. All it is going to do is make Rich Rebublican types happyperhaps that was PETA’s REAL intention? Must keep those donations comming in right? This makes me question the real motives of PETAto truly end animal abuse or to get rich from wealthy animal lovers donations??? I cannot believe anyone seriously thinks that a man like Michael Moore kicks his dog…and I can not believe that you seriously think anyone will believe your excuse regarding calling him an Elephantor comparing PETA’s letter to him to his letter to BUSH. Moores letter was protesting the war and the senseless killing of our young people….you were calling him fat as an Elephantand for what? Again I can only assume that it was to make your wealthy nonliberal Moore fearing donors happy. Michael Moore is fighting to help the ‘underdog’ and change the world for the better. I thought that was PETA’s goal too. Now I wonder. Shame on PETA. Nylene

  • Loreen says:

    Having read some of the hysteria that ensued in the commentary last “episode” I’m not surprised by the similair results from this one. What I don’t understand is that so many people are attacking Ingrid when they are upset at her “apparent” attack. Sounds like hypocrasy a smidg. Whether he makes a lot of money or eats animals or is in any other way just some “bad guy” what harm is there is offering a new view to someone who apparently tries to have them? What is underhanded or “rude” or what have you about telling the truth? We all want the truth to be heard about the benefits of our way of life to increase compassion etc. or otherwise we wouldn’t make the choices we make for ourselves and being honest about them in ways that we feel could benefit others is the smoothest way to “hoe that row”. As I say no one has done anything good by sitting down accept Ghandi and Rosa Parks. Everyone has the right to redemption and anyone can take it or leave it based on their own standards of needing to be redeemed. Besides negative publicity is still publicity so anyone ranting and raving about M.M. is still calling attention to him and giving him the time of day. So to the nay sayers I can only suggest that if you have nothing nice to say about someone trying to make a difference in a big way as opposed to the “ludicrus” way that some preceive it as being that would seem to only promote and benefit our cause as vegetarians to just not say anything at all. I think PETA is an informed and intelligent group that knows how to manage the big fish out there and I say kudo’s for trying! Besides as animal lovers wouldn’t all of us point at an elephant and take notice if one was in the room? Our response would not be voiceless. Thanks again Ingrid for taking all the comments so well. P.S. In all honesty my opinion of what is happening here is that more of the comments reflect the type of “veggiehippies” that are negative and like to attack that give us a bad name than Irgid’s move even came close to.

  • Judy Allen says:

    I agree with what some others have said. PETA has missed the point. PETA attacked his personal appearance not his politics. The letter was mean spirited and I for one ame disappointed in PETA. I’m also disappointed in PETA for not apologizing. If you don’t like Michael Moore fine. If you don’t like his movies or documentaries if you think them slanted and one sided don’t watch them or tell him what you think. I read Michael Moore’s letter to George Bush on the link and wanted to stand up and cheer. He really told it the way it was. Now let me cheer for PETA and issue an apology. Attack him in any other area than the one your chose.

  • jennyj says:

    considering he’s such a liberal i’m surprised at his stance on animal welfare. very sad.

  • Anonymous says:

    that comment about Michael Moore only wanting to get rich is so hilariously WRONG! i love his films and his personality and consider him a hero. he’s not perfect that’s for sure but he’s an activist and bringing things to attention that sorely need be. it’s his decision if he wants to becomeendorse the vegetarian lifestyle. lead by example and show him all of the positives. but really it’s his choice.

  • Lynn says:

    While I support peta because I love animals I don’t support the practice of opportunistic gimmics like this one especially with someone who is also doing a lot of good. Why can’t we be on the same side. Petayou ask for people to mock you BECAUSE you do stupid things like this. I’m done defending you. You make us all look bad.

  • V says:

    The Michael Moore convo in progress frankly has me a bit stunned. Moore’s films tend to be about exposing the stupidity in the governing system ie. the colombine kids bought their ammo at walmart. It does serve a purpose and it does prove a point. I have been a vegetarian and animal rights activist for 25 years. I don’t agree with his personal or televised outlook on animals either but then again i don’t really like humans all that much. Most of the contents in this blog aren’t doing a lot to change that. Can we concentrate on the plight of animals please? And on enlightening the obviously illinformed?? Instead of harping at Moore to make a documentary why not make one ourselves. I do professional filmvideo editing. I’ll even volunteer for it. This is for Eve the 15 year old that asked for an alternative to tofu try portabello mushrooms for a meat substitute in meals and rice or other grain subs for milkdairy products. Talk to a nutritionist for a balanced diet of foods you can eat.

  • AFRA says:

    Thanks for explaining the “meaning” of “elephant in the living room”…what would we do without PETA and Odd Outdated Rarely Used Emotive English Language 101? You insulted Michael Moore by using the above outmoded term deriding his physical appearance. Not mature and not useful. Afra RPN

  • KLiffee Ritz says:

    I was an admirer of MM until now. It’s okay. The poor critters that die so he can be obese will have their revenge in the forms of heart disease cancer and more.

  • Derek Chapman says:

    M.M. is physically is repugnant and altogether unpleasant. He will resent this bitterly. He will feel desperate for affection and attention a bit more than the average and this of coursre shows in his attention seeking immature behaviour. He’s confrontational loud and knowingly irritating to those he interviews if not downright obnoxious. By kicking his dog it simply illustrates his need to vent his frustration on a defenseless and trusting pet. His manners during his interview with with Charlton Heston were outrageous. Derek Liverpool UK.

  • Sara says:

    I’m a vegan and I’m fat but then again not as fat as Michael Moore. He’s obviously a meat addict and needs help! His films suck and are biased and I’m saying that as someone who agrees with his point of view! antigums antiIraq war. PETA are in your face about veggie issues which I think turns most meat eaters off. yes it is frustrating when people eat meat and don’t think about the cruelty that’s gone into it but you have to be subtle otherwise people do not listen.

  • Gloria Feldscher says:

    So Michael Moore glorifies meat eating and hunting and finds that the animal rights “shit” makes him want to kick his dog. The man deserves to be publicly castrated.

  • cl says:

    Lay off Michael Moore. He’s done a hell of a lot to wake up people to the idiocy going on right now in the White House. How petty of you guys to attack him because he “doesn’t embrace animal rights” maybe he’s a little busy exposing the health care industry’s cruelty to the human animal or telling the true facts of this stupid war! I have long been a supporter of animals and have defended PETA against denouement by friends and acquaintances except whon paint is thrown on people and other stupid stunts. I will rethink my feelings on your group.

  • Anonymous says:

    the only place michael moore has influence in at his caterers…not washington. please. I agree that he an dish it outmore than most but he certainly cant take it otherwise he would have a response to his abuse of animals or his obesity that could change if he stopped abusing animals..

  • Laura says:

    I appreciate PETA bringing it to my attention that Michael Moore does not support animal rights. I applaud PETA’s and our individual efforts to convince him otherwise especially if they are a bit more tactful. You say MM will not be crying in his sleep over your comments and you’re probably right. However you are playing into yet another messed up social issue which is “fatism.” I know you’re aware of Fat Activist websites. I know you’re aware of Sexism and social expectations put onto both women and men. So if PETA claims to be a social advocacy group you should broaden your perspective a bit. Unfortunately your own ignorance shows when you use “fat” against someone like Michael Moore. Approaching the issue that way if I were the recipient of your letter would discredit your message in my eyes. Again I appreciate your efforts with MM I think if we could turn his mind around and if he actually did do a documentary on animal rights so much good could be accomplished. It remains that MM despite his major shortcoming here is actually already doing a world of good. I recommend you befriend him not berate him. Just my two cents.

  • Max says:

    Its like Maya said its not what michael moore has done its the approach that PETA took in getting their message accross. It doesnt matter if moore can take it or not it makes peta come off looking like jerks in the eyes of everyone looking for any excuse to bash them. I realize that the way that Ingrid put the letter actually allowed some attention to be drawn to it while all the previous letters did not but there are ways to do this without comming off the way they did.

  • Kurt says:

    While I support PETA’s efforts for humane treatment of animals it bothers me just how “species”ist PETA is. In PETA’s last newletter there was much to applaud…and some things to shake one’s head at. For example in the article about fish they discretely omitted addressing how so very many of these aquatic “personalities” eat other fish. Hmmmmmmm Also there has been a growing body of research into the sensitivity and communication between plants. One recent study among several discovered that trees communicate with each other using chemical signals warning of threats such as disease and blights that others pick up on and use to chemically adapt themselves. When a tree in another study had a branch cut off it sent out elevated high frequency impulses imperceptible to human ears that nearby trees even of other species picked up on and resonated out further. It was sort of like a cry that went out that others picked up on and echoed. Just because plants aren’t cute and cuddley with eyes and noses i.e. just because they’re less like us humans doesn’t mean that they should be fair game to be ignored or discounted. PETA does very good work but sadly has it’s own emotional agenda that limits its appeal to rational people. Let’s talk about humane treatment and respect for all life forms.

  • Jane says:

    PETA and Michael Moore are similar in that both have moral crusades but seem more interested in publicizing themselves than doing the causes they care about any good. Most people seem to hate PETA and Michael Moore and on that account want to annoy them both by supporting what they’re against.

  • Suzie Glaser says:

    In response to the remark about how Michael Moore ‘sucker punched’ Charlton Heston…what? Be it that he is fat rich or whatever else everyone perceives him to be……He is trying to enlighten people. Could he lose weight? Absolutely. I was told by my boyfriend of 6 years ago that I was a fat cow. I had ballooned up to 150 pounds. That had a trememdous effect on me. You can accomplish more by being kind and using kind words. Sincerely Suzie Glaser P.S. The point of him being able to ‘take it’ is in my point of view wrong. Thank you.

  • Jennifer says:

    Great. PETA is now doing the right wing’s dirty work. AGREED.

  • Nini says:

    From my point of view Moore is an embarrasment for American people as well as a cave man who hasnt develop his moral awareness.

  • gary says:

    hey jojo j.lo? maya being nice doesnt get the message across remember. got beer? being nice n goody goody DOESNT get noticed and MM is as closed minded. narrow minded as osoma bin laden is humane people dont like animal rights because they want to defend the way they were brought up. people dont want to change people cant think. look at all the crap on tv advertisments! D U M B !!.. look at sports all people care about is wwf crap not indycars or f.1. people are happy being a puppet on a string

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s just outrageous that PETA wants to criticize Michael Moore because of his body size particularly since his movie wasnt about personal healthit was about corporate malfeasance! Once again someone in a leadership position in this case PETA is taking a nave and politically shortsighted view that blames individuals for not taking personal responsibility instead of putting the blame where it belongs on corporations. How could PETA have missed the mark so badly? PETA should have joined with Moore in proclaiming that corporations do not have the right to profit off of cruelty to humans or animals. What right does PETA have to go around criticizing peoples size? It’s rude insulting oppressive and irresponsible. And what the hell is PETA doing telling someone to lose weight when it so badly detracts from the movie’s message? Marie

  • SAB says:

    Where did this aparent story come from? About him sending a bunch of people dressed up as animals and sending such a nasty message. It doest sound realistic…where is the proof… I am honestly curious…i always thought Moore was a down to earth good guy.

  • suze says:

    The health system is overloaded with preventable lifestyle related illnesses. I think Ingrid is right in pointing this out. Our health is mostly our responsibility and not the government’s. A prime contributing factor to this epidemic is the massive consumption of meat in America. I have not seen Sicko but if it does not address this factI think it is not a balanced documentary and Mr.Moore is nothing more than a hypocrite.

  • Alejandro says:

    I guess Michael Moore is more interested in improving people’s lives rather than animal’s. Personally I think meat is a very important part in our diet otherwise we would have the same digestive system than the one of cows!

  • JLK says:

    M. Moore is a basically just a hypocrite and a huge speciesist and I didn’t mean fat when I said huge gosh. He shows so much interest and compassion for the human race but he just stops there like that’s enough. He expects everyone to go out and change their ways but he can’t even do that for an issue so important as this. Hypocrite.

  • H.A.F says:

    Some advice about his diet? No… you called him an elephant and made several other obnoxious comments about his weight. I’m not concerned about Moore’s feelings I’m pissed off because an organization I usually support is acting like a bunch of 6 year olds on a playground! Calling names? not a good way to educate! As an overweight veggie myself I find the whole thing offensive and it only makes PETA look like the whackjobs so many say they are!

  • Dee says:

    Ingrid says “personal responsibility is a big part of why people look and feel as ill as they do.” This is true. MMoore’s movie is about the healthcare INDUSTRY. However please don’t make it sound like people who do end up getting sick and run into headaches with the healthcare system could’ve avoided it all by being vegetarian. That is a very naive way to think. p.s. I hope this message makes it past the PETA filter

  • Dee says:

    PETA can certainly disagree with the way Michael Moore has handled animals but to take aim at his weight is a very CHEAP shot. PETA is not WeightWatchers PETA is an organization for the animals that do not have a voice in their treatment. Very poor PETA.

  • Stephanie says:

    PETA has bigger fish to fry and wasting their time on personal attacks on any person is demeaning not only to the person but to PETA’s ability to gain more global support. These type of petty outrageous stunts geared only for publicity makes me reconsider my support for PETA everytime. How about rising above the fray and work to educate more not ostrasizing anyone for any reason. My PETA donation envelopes will go into the trash until I see some real mea culpa regarding this attack and until the petty attacking nature of how PETA does business and their childish hate mongering stops.

  • y says:

    I am disappointed with PETA. Michael Moore is trying to raise awareness in order to help human beings. I realize that PETA is not about helping human beings but why in the world would you call someone a gray elephant. This is ugly. You are not attacking Michael Moore you are attacking every person who is overweight. Not only were you being petty to someone who should be considered a hero but you were attacking all overweight people. Maybe since PETA is so worried about animals PETA forgot how to deal with humans. Maybe PETA should be called IMUS instead.

  • Dave Darby says:

    Personally I think that blog hurts both parties more than it helps. I haven’t lost my respect for Mr Moore but the blogger could use a big can of “When I am about to say something stupid I should just shut up”.

  • Justin says:

    You should use you time for more useful thing like curing world hunger. Not trying to eliminate a source of food. Show me a picture of a kid from Etheopia starving and an animal in a slaughter house and the kid would get my sympathy. You would rather save a sheep then save a life and that’s wrong.

  • Sean says:

    Erm why would PETA want anything to do with Michael Moore? He is low brow repulsive and hated. The stereotype of him as a ‘burger eater’ is great as he is a walking argument against meat consumption. It would be disastrous to have him on side. No offence to my American AR cousins but Moore is representative of everything that is gross about the USA. You have to remember not to confuse ‘progressive politics’ with Animal Rights. We have supporters from the far left to far right and everyone in between. AR is NOT a political issue and having left wing sensationalists like Moore on side would be a major setback.

  • joseph says:

    that dudes a joke he only feels like showing the bad side of everything

  • Laurie says:

    You are nitpicking Michael Moore. There are more important things to complain about. Obviously the one’s who object have not seen his recent movie “sicko”. If gave him a little breathing room maybe you would have a better chance of bringing him in on your side.

  • Deej says:

    As a rightwinger I’m not all that fond of Michael Moore. His new flick Sicko does make a big point. Ingrid Newkirk has no right to criticize his weight and attribute it to eating animals. Ever heard of genetics? I weigh 110 lbs female 5’5″ and am an avid beefeater. In fact I raise cattle and sheep and fatten my own stock to butcher. I believe that while PETA may have had the right things at heart when it developed Ingrid Newkirk has taken the group in a tragic direction. I am NOT an animal abuser because I eat meat. And I’m not fat from it either!

  • Rachel says:

    Is this some kind of joke? Ms Ingrid something’s whole letter reeks of the schoolyard malice which is shameful when served by children but downright disgusting coming from an adult. Why would this woman send a letter to someone who doesn’t like her anyway?

  • Jane says:

    Micheal Moore and Peta are both one sided and act immature alot of the time in protecting their causes even if they are often extremely good causes. Both can be misguided and radical as I myself admit I can also be when I feel passionate about something. Sometime I do stupid things out of emotion and then look back later and then it’s palm to forehead. I do not believe caring about animal rights is a waste of life however. Very much the opposite. Any unjust suffering of women men children and animals should be ended if possible esp. when it’s done because of stupid reasons like fashion or circus acts etc.

  • Ginny Rankin says:

    ahhh Jack c’mon now. i just read your letter to PETA members commenting on the huge response your blog got from Ingrid’s letter to MM. you refer to the excitement of discussion on both sides of the issue when it was painfully clear that a VAST majority of people took credible issue with Ingrid’s letter. obviously she used the expression and yes we do all know it’s an expression “elephant in the room” as a doubleentendre OBVIOUSLY. there’s one point here and only one point your message is not heard if you slam it in someone’s face insulting them in the process. we can talk all day about MM’s stance on animal rights or how he can be tough so he must have a thick skin but that wasn’t the specific point of Ingrid’s letter. the bottom line is and i’ll say it again she owes him an apology.

  • Alexis says:

    Michael Moore is a fat ignorant man. He profiteers from playing on European stereotypes of USA and Americans and playing into anything that will arouse enough controversy to sell himself. One of many examples of his “spinning” things is how he glorified Cuba’s healthcare but then saw to that the camera scanned quickly over the list showing Cuba coming in after USA in healthcarefunny that is! He is the size of a small elephant so “an elephant in the room” is quite a funny play on words! One poster asked if we assume he eats dead animals because he is fat YES. Among other reasons. Vegetarians usually do not get obese due to the healthy nature of our diets. We also avoid a myriad of other health problems. Plus this man has glorified his grotesque eating habits and has the nerve to ridicule people for caring for animals and then has the nerve to act as if he is a moral authority on human rights. If you do not respect your fellow creatures they should not respect you!

  • Blogsworth says:

    I never minded PETA until recently. Firstly how can anyone take seriously a organisation that has a pron star as their spokesperson and secondly an attack on Michael Moore as being fat and a meat eater. Your point being. There are millions of fat meat eaters. Are you runiing out of things to say… As they say if you have nothing worth saying keep your mouth shut.

  • Heather says:

    I have to say that Emily refer to quote below my statementwrote her response as if she was speaking for me too. You don’t have to tell me that a vegan diet is better for your health and animals. I already know and agree. The “elephant in the room” as being merely an expression not a shot at his weight IS insulting to my intelligence. Would you have used that expression with someone who looked like say Nicole Richie or another skinny person? These pot shots are exactly what turn people off of PETA. I even know animal rights activists who don’t care for PETA for this reason too. Personally I enjoy many of your campaigns but in some cases disagree. This is obviously one of them No one here who is an a.r. activist is for anyone who is antianimal rights or welfare. Many of us are just against namecalling. I find the organizations who seem to get even the most stubborn people on their side for the animals are the ones which take a mature approach. This is not to say that you have not made progress. You most certainly have. I do applaud that. I saw on t.v. tonight that Al Gore has lost weight. Has anyone tried to find out how or congratulate him on his weight loss? Even if he still eats meat it’s a good gesture to give praise for his efforts in weight loss and utilize this good will to possible open other gates towards him going vegetarian. Cheers Heather “About the use of “elephant in the room”. Yes it’s an expression but to claim that Ingrid was not using that expression to poke fun at Micheal’s size is being disingenuous. Please do not insult my intelligence. I understand puns. Ingrid was obviously making a play on the expression. Why try to deny it? It’s not that big of a deal. Anyway I noticed that you said nothing about the fact that Ingrid may have hurt many overweight supporters of PETA. Yeah Micheal Moore is an Ahole but it has nothing to with his weight. Again you can be fat vegan and an animals rights activist. I’m all three. Stereotypes aren’t very useful.”

  • f s says:

    Doctors will tell you that a lot of medicines are made from plants. And a lot of doctors are liking healthy foods ! Maybe Mike has not had the time to delve into animal rights yet ??? Or a vegan diet ??? How about organic ? Would Ingrid consider sending a shipment of vegan foods to Mr. Moore so that he may try them ? Ever try to controle diabetic problems with a vegan diet ? How about clogged arteries ? I am reading that even lupus sufferers might be helped by a vegan diet. And you thought that tobacco lawsuits were interesting !

  • Kimberly Smith says:

    God Bless the people of PETA. Ecclesiasted 319 says it all. Mankind has no right to treat animals in such horrific ways. The Bible also says in Proverbs “The Rightous man regards his beast but even the tender mercies of the unrightous are cruel. God did not need Moses to part the Red Sea but God used Moses. God is using the rightous and merciful people of PETA and I’m delighted to be a member