Batman, Birdman…Bearman? Michael Keaton Blasts Bear-Cub Photo Ops

Oscar Nominee's New PETA Campaign Urges People to Steer Clear of Animal-Exploiting Operations

For Immediate Release:
July 11, 2019

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – Just in time for the busy tourist season, Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton—whose latest movie, Dumbo, sends a powerful anti-captivity message—appears in a new PSA for PETA calling on tourists not to visit animal-exploiting operations that use sensitive bears for photo ops.

“In the wild, bear cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years,” says Keaton. “But across the country, cubs are being taken from their mothers as infants to be used as photo props by profit-hungry exhibitors. These vulnerable cubs face lifelong psychological suffering. And because their immune systems aren’t fully developed, every public encounter risks their life.”

The Birdman star explains that when the cameras aren’t snapping, the bears are often held in cramped cages with nothing to do but pace and cry. In an exclusive video interview with PETA, he adds, “[I]t’s fine to take pictures of yourself but just don’t involve animals .… It’s simply a question of respect, you know? They’re living creatures, so I just don’t like when their [dignity] is taken away or they’re made to look silly.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that bears and other animals used for photo ops and other interactions with the public are often separated from their mothers at a young age and likely endure violent “training sessions” to break their spirits and make them compliant. They’re frequently held in cramped, barren cages or concrete pits and denied the opportunity to engage in species-specific types of behavior, such as roaming long distances, foraging, and digging.

Keaton joins a long list of celebrities—including Alec Baldwin, Joan Jett, Mark Rylance, Casey Affleck, Sam Simon, and Bob Barker—who’ve teamed up with PETA to promote kindness to bears.

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