Say ‘Peace,’ Not ‘Cheese’! PETA Intern Calls On Selfie App to Align Its Lingo With Gen Z Values

For Immediate Release:
June 13, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Following the news that BeReal—a social media app that prompts users to share a candid selfie daily—was just acquired by Voodoo, whose founder Laurent Ritter plans to quadruple its user base over the next two years, PETA intern Katharine Hampton sent him a letter today with a suggestion for the app’s new era. Since BeReal’s use of the antiquated phrase “Say ‘cheese’” is more likely to inspire frowns than smiles among young people—who are increasingly ditching cruelly obtained dairy in favor of vegan milks—Hampton is calling on Ritter to replace the outmoded phrase with “Say ‘peace,’” which better aligns with Gen Z’s values of compassion and equity.

“Say ‘peace’!” Credit: PETA

“Dairy farms repeatedly impregnate female cows and exploit them like milking machines. Mother cows fiercely love their babies—but the dairy industry robs them of this important bond, forcibly taking their calves away from them shortly after birth. ‘Say cheese’ helps make this cycle of suffering and abuse seem normal and acceptable,” writes Hampton. “Many compassionate young folks, including all my friends, speak out against racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist phrases. We realize that words carry immense power. ‘Say peace’ promotes peace for all sentient beings.”

“Let’s be real. More and more young people are recognizing that cheese and the animal abuse that comes with it are nothing to smile about,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges BeReal to reflect its users’ values and switch to language that promotes kindness, not cruelty.”

PETA’s investigations into dairy facilities have found workers electroshocking cows in the face, hitting them with poles and a cane, and abusing them in other ways. Once their bodies wear out after repeated pregnancies, they’re sent to slaughter.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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