Media Centre

Online Ad Blitz Targets Dicaprio For Using Ape In 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'

For Immediate Release:

17 December 2013

Contact:

Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk

London – Leonardo DiCaprio's appearance with a chimpanzee in a raucous scene in the upcoming film TheWolf of Wall Street has made him the focus of a multimedia PETA US blitz on more than 100 entertainment sites in the lead-up to the film's 25 December US release.

DiCaprio has not yet responded to pleas from PETA US and primatologist Jane Goodall about the cruelty that great apes endure in show business, so PETA US 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 US' 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 UK's Mimi Bekhechi. "We hope 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 travelling circus that forces chimpanzees to perform cruel and unnatural acts. Chance's exhibitor has also been cited by the US 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 US 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 pre-production 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 USabout the cruelty and isolation faced by great apes in the entertainment business. 

For more information about animals exploited for entertainment, please visit PETA.org.uk.