Following PETA’s call for a boycott of the upcoming film A Dog's Purpose, Universal have cancelled both the film’s scheduled premiere and press junket.
Controversy was abound after TMZ released footage showing a German Shepherd named Hercules being pushed into and pulled out of a rushing stream of water against its will.
A voice can be heard in the background shouting: "Well, he ain't going to calm down until he goes in the water. Just got to throw him in.” The clip then skips forward to the dog almost drowning while people rush to the rescue.
Universal are reportedly attempting to avoid allowing the cast to do interviews after many of the crew spoke out against the second filming unit’s actions.
A DOG'S PURPOSE' SCARED GERMAN SHEPHERD FORCED INTO TURBULENT WATER | TMZ
Directed by Lasse Hallström, the film adapts the 2010 novel of the same name and is supposedly meant to pay tribute to the unique relationship between dog and man.
Amblin Entertainment and its distributor Universal Pictures have released the below statement
Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.
Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.
PETA's boycott includes the statement, "The apparent on-set incident, which is hard to watch, may come as an unwelcome surprise to unsuspecting moviegoers who care about dogs — especially given the title of the film, based on the hit book of the same name.”
Hallström and actor Josh Gad have spoken out about the video. On Twitter, Hallström wrote: “I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film A Dog's Purpose. I did not witness these actions. We were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film.”
Peta campaigns in pictures
Gad took to Facebook to write, "A few months ago, I was approached to lend my voice to the film A Dog's Purpose. As I sat in a dark screening room, I was beyond touched and moved by what I saw... a movie that captures the beauty and pain of loving a pet. I signed on to a film that truly stands out as one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen."
"Today, however, I saw a disturbing video that appears to show a scared German Shepard [sic] being forced to perform a stunt on the set of this film. While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the making of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will."
"As the proud owner of a rescue dog and a fervent supporter of organizations like PETA, I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation for these disturbing images."
Never trust the 'No Animals Were Harmed In The Making Of This Movie' disclaimer as it seems the American Humane Association fraudulently adds that to any movie that uses animals. Instead do your own independent research. Examples:
A German Shepherd (pictured) was harmed in the making of@ADogsPurposeMovie as he was traumatized by the terrifying experience that almost drowned him.
A Bengal tiger, used whenever CGI wasn't effective, almost drowned on the set of 'Life of Pi'
Three thoroughbreds died during the production of HBO's 'Luck'. The third horse was euthanized after sustaining major head injuries.
A husky dog was repeatedly punched by the trainer on the set of 'Eight Below'
An animal handler dropped a chipmunk and stepped on him killing him during the production of 'Failure to Launch'
27 animals including sheep and goats, perished from dehydration and exhaustion during a hiatus in the production of 'The Hobbit'
On 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian' set, 14 horses sustained injuries.
A 5-foot-long shark died after being placed in a small inflatable pool during a Kmart commercial shoot.
No precautions were taken to protect marine life when setting off special effects explosions in the ocean for 'Pirates of the Caribbean' that dozens of dead fish and squid washed up on shore for days.
A giraffe died on the set of Sony's 'Zookeeper'
The list is sadly never-ending and all of these horrific incidents received a 'No Animals Were Harmed' disclaimer even though animals DIED. If a human died on set, there would be outrage, uproar and lawsuits but clearly animals just aren't valued in the same way, which is why the fight for #AnimalRights is so important.