Feds Cite Monkey Exhibitor Over Stunt Involving Jeffree Star and James Charles After PETA Tip

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

After PETA tipped off the U.S. Department of Agriculture to a publicity stunt for the clothing company Bananas Monkey in which influencers—including Jeffree Star, James Charles, Swae Lee, Michael Yerger, Daisy Keech, Austin McBroom, and Chantel Jeffries—interacted with two monkeys, the agency cited the exhibitor, Kevin Keith, for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. PETA just obtained the inspection report.

Keith was cited for failing to maintain direct control of primates during physical contact with the public when a baboon named Mickey—who was used in the films Rock of Ages and Get Hard—and a capuchin named Chiquita were forced to hug, shake hands with, and sit on the shoulders of the influencers and other members of the public. The inspector stated that this stunt could have resulted in “physical harm to the people or animals involved.”

“Monkeys used by exhibitors like Keith are taken from their mothers, carted around, coerced to perform, and forced into one stressful encounter after another,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA urges influencers to use their platforms to condemn animal exploitation, not enable it.”

Baboons, capuchin monkeys, and other wild animals used in the entertainment industry are often torn away from their mothers as babies and shipped from city to city to be displayed, used for photo ops, or forced to perform. Primates are intelligent, curious, social animals who are happiest when surrounded by family, and they have complex physical and psychological needs that simply can’t be met when they’re used for events. In order to suppress their natural behavior and ensure total control over these animals—who can be dangerous and unpredictable—trainers typically use abusive training techniques.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—alerted the influencers to the citation and asked that they commit to never again participating in or endorsing cruel animal exhibits.

For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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