Animal Exhibitor for ‘The Tonight Show’ Under Fire For Permit Violations

PETA Seeks Investigation After Host Jimmy Fallon and Celeb Guests Interact With Wild Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2019

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York – PETA is calling for an investigation into animal exhibitor Grant Kemmerer—a supplier used by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon—for allowing members of the public to have direct contact with wild animals during appearances on various talk shows, in apparent violation of the terms of his exhibitor permits.

In a complaint submitted today to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, PETA notes that an unauthorized individual, Robert Irwin (who’s also a minor and the son of Steve Irwin), handled various animals provided by Kemmerer—including a camel, an alligator, and a wild cat—for segments on The Tonight Show in both January and February. Irwin also encouraged host Fallon to touch many of the animals, which he did—even though Kemmerer’s permit prohibits direct public contact with the animals. In an April segment, actor Kate Beckinsale was encouraged to poke an African bullfrog, and in May, Game of Thrones star Jacob Anderson was forced into a phone booth with Kemmerer, Fallon, and a python snake, even though permit applications state that no members of the public would have contact with the animals.

“Animals suffer every time they’re exposed to the chaos of a television set and passed around like props,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on authorities to throw the book at this hack for brazenly violating—on camera—the clear conditions of his exhibitor permits.”

Just last year, as a result of a previous PETA complaint, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cited Kemmerer for five violations of state wildlife laws—including three violations of New York’s “tiger selfie” law—for allowing members of the public to have direct contact with tigers and a lion during parties at a private residence on Long Island in 2016 and 2017. The agency fined Kemmerer a total of $7,300.

In light of these new alleged violations, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—is asking that Kemmerer be banned from obtaining future permits and is renewing its call for Fallon to enact an official policy against featuring wild animals on The Tonight Show.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind