After condemning the upcoming sequel Jackass Forever for its alleged mistreatment of animals, PETA is now calling for a criminal investigation. In a letter sent to city and county prosecutors in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the organization - an acronym for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - calls for "appropriate legal action" in relation to what they say is cruelty to animals. As seen in the Jackass Forever trailer, some of the new stunts include different animals like a snake, tarantula, and bull.
In a press release, the foundation states: "PETA's attention has been drawn to the production of the upcoming Paramount Pictures movie, filmed in Los Angeles County, the trailer for which shows Johnny Knoxville being charged by a bull, Sean McInerney being bitten on the nose by a snake, and a tarantula trapped in a plastic tube between Ehren McGhehey and Compston Wilson's heads. PETA notes that these activities appear to violate California's prohibitions on bullfighting and similar exhibitions, causing any animal to fight with a human, and cruelty to animals-and that other acts of cruelty may well have been committed on set without making it into the trailer or the film's final cut."
"Tormenting real animals for stupid stunts normalizes cruelty, encourages others-including minors-to harm animals, and violates California law," adds PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. "PETA is asking the authorities to hold Jackass Forever accountable for any violations and reminds the film industry that animal abuse cannot be tolerated."
Per the press release, PETA also notes that when bulls charge or attack, it's "often a result of having been taunted, while snakes are naturally reclusive and typically retreat from humans unless provoked. Tarantulas are sensitive to vibrations, which they use to detect danger, a trait that makes loud sounds and foreign environments especially stressful for them." It's also worth noting that the foundation's motto includes, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment."
Previously, PETA condemned the release of Jackass Forever shortly after the trailer premiered online. At the time, there wasn't a demand for a criminal probe, though PETA wanted the studio to pull the sequel's release from the schedule. They were also calling for all animal scenes to be removed completely from the movie before it could be released for paying audiences to see. Their demands were not met by Paramount, perhaps prompting this next step in PETA heading to the authorities.
"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," PETA stated in July. "The Jackass Forever trailer shows Knoxville's crew provoking a snake and a bull to the point of attack, treating a tarantula like a game piece, and coercing a chained bear to eat honey off a bound participant. Four months before its release, Jackass Forever has already risked normalizing animal exploitation and legitimizing the cruel exhibitors who pimp out animals for productions. PETA is urging producers to remove stunts involving animals from the film."
While Jackass Forever wasn't canceled, it did get a recent delay. It was going to be released on Oct. 22 following several previous delays, but because of the ongoing pandemic, it was recently pushed back once again. Now, the studio is planning to debut the sequel on Feb. 4, 2022. It remains to be seen if PETA's demands will result in a criminal investigation into the movie. This news comes to us from PETA.