People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for a boycott of the film A Dog’s Purpose after TMZ posted a video of a handler forcing a nervous German shepherd into rough waters during production.
The video was posted Wednesday afternoon, but the scene was reportedly shot in November 2015. The clip shows a handler attempting to force the large dog in the water as the canine does everything in its power to stop itself from getting thrown in. The crew is heard shouting words of encouragement, but the animal appears to be a nervous wreck.
Amblin Entertainment told TMZ Wednesday evening that the dog, named Hercules, was not forced into filming, and that the scene was called off until Hercules was ready. Amblin says that Hercules is today “happy and healthy.”
A representative from the American Humane Association (AHA) was present on the set. He has reportedly been suspended from the position. AHA is responsible for ensuring that no animals are harmed in the making of a film. The dog captured in the video is said to be one of five used throughout production. In a statement to TMZ, AHA says the incident is still under investigation.
Animal rights activists and a few celebs shared their reactions on Twitter. Will & Grace star Debra Messing says she will also be boycotting the film.
I refuse to go see the movie A Dogs Purpose Now. This is terrible. https://t.co/y333xIOQnL— Taylor ❀ (@luvtaylor_x3) January 18, 2017
If we had the tech for Avatar to be made 8 yrs ago, then there was no need to force scared German shepherd to film a scene for #ADogsPurpose— Maggie (@MaggieBizz) January 18, 2017
PETA has denounced the film in a statement calling on “all dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.”
The film hits theaters on Jan. 27.