People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging moviegoers to skip “Jackass Forever” while calling for a criminal investigation into the film’s production.
PETA claims the goofy stuntmen in the box-office smash hit allegedly commit cruelty and abuse against the animals in some of the stunts.
The fourth installment of the “Jackass” franchise and its first sequel since “Jackass 3-D” in 2010 has already netted over $23,000,000 since its release on Friday, according to the IMDB’s Box Office Mojo database.
PETA cited several of the “Jackass” crew’s stunts that involved animals as particularly egregious.
One instance, they say, is a scene in which ringleader Johnny Knoxville provokes bees into stinging star Steve-O’s penis and another in which a scorpion is placed near actress Rachel Wolfson and “hit repeatedly” by comedian Eric Andre until the critter stings her.
Other problematic stunts involving animals for the animal activist group include provoking a bull into charging at Knoxville (from which he suffered a severe concussion) and placing a tarantula in an enclosure between two actors’ screaming faces.
“Jackass stunts are violent and vulgar, but if the talent is willing and the wounds are self-inflicted, that’s one thing—however, it’s quite another when animals are exploited, harassed, and harmed: That’s cruelty,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement.
PETA sent a letter to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Abourezk in September after the trailer – which teased several animal-involved stunts – was released. The organization urged the offices to “investigate and take appropriate legal action against those involved in filming scenes depicting cruelty to animals in the movie Jackass Forever.”
The letter said that Paramount Pictures may have violated California animal cruelty laws – such as the state’s ban on animal fighting – in its production. The group said it fears the movie will inspire others to perform similar stunts, endangering animals.
“If Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville want to make a career out of nasty little boy fantasies, they’re entitled to, as long as they don’t stress, harm, poke, prod, scare, or bother animals who are used as living props for their idiocy,” said a statement from PETA SVP Lisa Lange, obtained by Deadline.
“PETA is reminding city and county prosecutors that no one is above the law and that while the rest of the world wants to save bees and recognizes animals as sentient individuals, these jackasses exploit and abuse them for fun.”