Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’ Nabs PETA Award for Faux-Fur Hats

New Series Used Custom Synthetic Shtreimels, Sparing Countless Minks, Foxes, or Other Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – A Compassion in Costume Design Award is on its way from PETA to Netflix’s Unorthodox, in which costume designer Justine Seymour used faux fur to create the more than 100 shtreimel hats worn in the series.

The hats are traditionally worn by Hasidic Jewish men on Shabbat and other special occasions—and in the Making Unorthodox featurette, the filmmakers explained why they decided to go faux: “[E]ach hat involves the fur of six minks, which kind of seemed to us unnecessary [because] we needed a lot of them,” says series writer Anna Winger. “So a theater company in Hamburg made them out of fake fur, so, you know, no minks were harmed in the making of this TV show.”

“By using faux-fur hats, Unorthodox‘s filmmakers have prevented real animals from being beaten, electrocuted, or skinned alive,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “From binge-worthy shows to Oscar contenders, PETA-approved vegan fabrics have become the go-to choice for costume designers.”

Each real fur shtreimel may be made of up to 30 sables, minks, martens, or foxes. Jewish leaders have criticized the fur hats as a violation of the Jewish law of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, which prohibits causing animals unnecessary pain. Most animals used for fur spend their entire lives slowly going insane inside cramped cages before they’re electrocuted, gassed, or poisoned. Those who are trapped in nature may suffer for days before trappers arrive to shoot, strangle, beat, or stomp them to death.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—previously honored the fur-free costume design in Rocketman and Natalie Portman’s vegan leather wardrobe in Vox Lux. Other recent Hollywood projects that skipped fur or leather include Dynasty, Blade Runner 2049, and Game of Thrones, among others.

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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