Two Paws Up: Elizabeth Banks Nabs PETA Award for Cocaine Bear

For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – A “Beary Best” Award from PETA is on its way to Elizabeth Banks for using a human “bear performer” along with cutting-edge computer-generated imagery (CGI) instead of real bears for her upcoming movie, Cocaine Bear. Banks directed and coproduced the horror-comedy about a bear going on a violent, drug-fueled rampage in the Georgia woods.

Cocaine Bear’s hyper-realistic star proves that the future of film lies in technology, not dragging abused animals onto movie sets,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is happy to celebrate Elizabeth Banks for recognizing that forcing a real bear to perform in her dark comedy would have been anything but funny.”

PETA’s undercover investigations and law-enforcement probes into animal suppliers for the film and TV industries have documented that animals are often whipped and kept in deplorable conditions. Bears are separated from their mothers prematurely, causing a lifetime of psychological distress, and handlers typically use cruel techniques such as food deprivation, beatings, electric shocks, and chaining to break their spirits, make them compliant, and force them to perform on cue.

PETA urges anyone who sees animals being used for film or television productions to report it at or call the whistleblower hotline at 323-210-2233.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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