PETA Online Ad Blitz Targets DiCaprio for Using Ape in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

PETA Ad Reveals Shocking Backstory of DiCaprio's Chimpanzee Costar

For Immediate Release:
December 16, 2013

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los AngelesLeonardo DiCaprio‘s appearance with a chimpanzee in a raucous scene in the upcoming film The Wolf of Wall Street has made him the focus of a multimedia PETA blitz on more than 100 entertainment sites in the lead-up to the film’s December 25 release.

DiCaprio has not yet responded to pleas from PETA and primatologist Jane Goodall about the cruelty that great apes endure in show business, so PETA has launched a full-scale advertising campaign reminding him as well as moviegoers that chimpanzees are abused and taken from their mothers at an early age before being forced into Hollywood. PETA’s ads include a graphic 35-second video about the lives of ape “actors,” along with an online petition—which already has more than 35,000 signatures—asking fans to urge DiCaprio never to work with great apes again.

“Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo DiCaprio should know better than to support the well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment,” says PETA primatologist Julia Gallucci. “PETA hopes the next time Leo receives a script with an ape ‘actor’ in it, he’ll remember that these sensitive animals are stolen from their mothers at birth and subjected to physical abuse—and he’ll demand a rewrite.”

Chance, the young chimpanzee DiCaprio drags through a bustling office party in the film, was provided to the Wolf crew by a member of the Rosaire family, which is notorious for operating a traveling circus that forces chimpanzees to perform cruel and unnatural acts. Chance’s exhibitor has also been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act because of her failure to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals she exhibits. Making matters worse, a whistleblower told PETA that the American Humane Association―whose notoriously lax policies were exposed in a Hollywood Reporter story last month―reportedly assigned Chance an on-set monitor who had no experience with primates.

Undercover investigations have documented that physical abuse of ape “actors” during preproduction training is standard practice: One primatologist who went undercover at an ape training facility witnessed trainers beating young chimpanzees with hammers and rocks. When great apes grow out of infancy and become strong enough to fight back, they’re routinely discarded at shabby roadside zoos, where they face decades of loneliness in barren cages. Oscar winner Anjelica Huston has narrated a video for PETA about the cruelty and isolation faced by great apes in the entertainment business.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“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