Yes, HBO’s I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA was insightful, well-made, and powerful. I’ll admit that. But WTF, HBO? Didn’t you forget something kind of important? Did all those times I found an excuse to walk by the cameras when you were filming in the office mean nothing to you? Did that week we spent together camped out in a parking lot in New Orleans just completely slip your minds? Or is there something I missed?
As anyone who watched the documentary last night will know by now, this lowly PETA blogger does not appear anywhere in the final cut of the film. Like, there aren’t even any scenes where you can hear my voice off camera, or see me wandering by in the hallways. But with the exception of that massive, massive oversight on HBO’s part, the film, which aired for the first time yesterday at 8 p.m., was absolutely riveting. I won’t give away too much, since you can still catch it on HBO On Demand, but the film takes as its central theme the period leading up to the release of our Butterball investigation, and it provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes view of exactly how that campaign and a number of other PETA initiatives go from an idea in a meeting to a major media story that highlights the suffering of animals.
If you get a chance to watch the film, you’ll notice that not all the viewpoints expressed in the documentary are flattering about PETA, but as an organization, we’ve never been particularly concerned about flattery—our goal has always been to get people thinking seriously about animal rights, and whenever possible, getting them to sit down and actually confront the horrors that animals are subjected to in the meat, fur, animal-research, and other abusive industries that are so often kept hidden from the public. I Am an Animal accomplishes that in spades, and for that reason I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about why we do what we do. I just hope that when they make the sequel, they’ll give the people what they want and spend a little bit more time filming me.