Live Apes in Cruel Movie Theater Stunt Prompt PETA Appeal

Carmike Cinemas Called On to Ban Use of Wild Animals—for Kindness' and Safety's Sake

For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – On the heels of a publicity stunt by notorious animal exhibitor Bhagavan “Doc” Antle—who reportedly took two chimpanzees to a Myrtle Beach premiere of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes—PETA is asking its members and supporters to contact Carmike Cinemas, which hosted the opening night, to get in line with other venues and agencies and immediately adopt a policy prohibiting wild animals at all its theaters.

As PETA—whose motto includes “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—pointed out in a letter to the company, Antle has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and endangering the public. In addition, captive primates—who are often torn away from their loving mothers shortly after birth and beaten into submission—have been known to lash out, leaving humans horrifically injured and, often, the animals killed.

“It’s cruel and dangerous to use chimpanzees for publicity stunts such as this—and it flies directly in the face of the message of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the beliefs of its director, who uses computer-generated imagery rather than real apes in his films,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on Carmike Cinemas not to contribute to cruelty to animals and to pledge never to host exploitative wildlife acts again.”

PETA is also calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local Myrtle Beach authorities to investigate whether Antle’s stunt violated the AWA and local law.

Further details about Antle’s history of violating federal law are available here, and PETA’s letter to Carmike Cinemas is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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