Monkey trouble?: 'The Hangover Part II' raises concerns from animal rights advocates

Melinda Sue Gordon

The Hangover Part II director Todd Phillips says he was just monkeying around when he told EW (in our current cover story) and another publication that the film’s scene-stealing, drug-dealing capuchin monkey, Crystal, had been taught to smoke cigarettes for the film and then gotten addicted to them. The truth, according to Phillips and Warner Bros. is that, while Crystal appears to smoke in the film, she never actually held a lit cigarette on the film’s set — the smoke was added digitally in post-production. Still, animal rights advocates aren’t amused. A spokesperson for the American Humane Association, which monitors the treatment of animals on nearly 2,000 film and television sets every year, says the organization offered to visit the movie’s set in Thailand but was turned down — and that the group has not been granted a screening of the film. As a result, The Hangover Part II (unlike the first Hangover) will not carry the AHA’s familiar “no animals were harmed” disclaimer.

At the same time, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Ingrid Newkirk tells EW her organization wrote a letter to Phillips protesting Crystal’s appearance in the film. While Newkirk believes Phillips was only joking about the cigarette smoking (“he would have been locked up if anybody on the set had turned him in”), she says any use of exotic animals for entertainment purposes is “of grave concern” to PETA: “Monkeys are wild. They don’t want to be doing the same things over and over, they’re easily upset, they don’t want to be under the bright lights, they don’t want to be in the cage.” Newkirk says the group is particularly upset about the monkey being used in connection with sexual humor: “A joke is a joke, and we have a great sense of humor, but leave the animals out of it.”

Warner Bros. says Crystal (who has also appeared in the Night at the Museum films, among other movies) was always treated with the utmost care during production on The Hangover Part II. Still, if some animal-rights advocates don’t approve of what they see when the film opens on May 26, they will undoubtedly make their opinions heard.

Comments (34 total) Add your comment
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  • gazmo

    If only people were as concerned over the millions of MORONS (instead of monkeys) who continue to smoke REAL cigarettes in REAL life, in a self-destructive spiral toward a gruesome choice of deaths.

    (I wouldn’t mind this process – which helps to clear the hopelessly stupid and self-destructive from the gene pool – if only the cigarettes would kill them BEFORE they had a chance to reproduce!!)

    • James


      • gazmo

        Hallelujah, my Brother!!!

    • Emma

      Amen. I’d also add that they pollute the communal air on sidewalks and in parks.

      • Mark

        Let’s not forget all those litterbug smokers who toss their cigarette butts out the car window or leave them lying on the ground.

      • Brad Adien

        unlike your car?

    • jul

      well said, amigo.

    • TT

      oh yeah, because other people don’t make stupid decisions that endanger their health every day. I challenge you to examine your own life and tell me that you have never done ANYthing that is harmful to your body. I’m sure you don’t eat any processed or unhealthy foods, that you never text while walking or driving, that you never have even communal wine bc alcohol is bad, that you don’t drink tap water bc fluorine is added, that you don’t use a cell bc it might cause brain cancer, oh and that computer you’re typing on- i’m sure that you’re 100% sure there are no health detriments from that either. Point is, yes, smoking is bad. NOONE says otherwise. But we live in a free country and we are free to treat ourselves as good or as bad as we choose. Personally, i would not want to live in a totalitarian nanny state even if it meant i’d live to be 150. But if free will is not that important to you, feel free to find those that agree with you, pool your money and invest in an island where you can set up your own Big Brother state. And gl to you. I’m sure you’d be very happy (not).

      • gazmo

        Treat yourself however you want TT.

        Just do it fast.

        I’m tired of paying high health care premiums because self-destructive aholes still want the health care system to pay for their cancer surgeries, gastric bypasses, liposuction, etc.etc.etc.etc til I could just puke!!

    • Terrfabulous

      To Gazmo u are so freakin ignorant. The animals they have on movie sets are severly abused and conditionded so the movie industry can get them to do what they want! Why dont u preach to people and realize that animals on movie sets dont have a choice. They do have us to fight for theyre rights. Which are to be left alone and live in there own enviorment! Imagine someone taking u away from ur home and making u perform???? Would u like it??? As for people choosing to smoke last i heard it was theyre right!

  • Anne

    The fact that they would not allow the Animal Humane Association to monitor the animal action on set is SUPER sketchy, and makes any claim they make that the monkey wasn’t harmed dubious at best. AHA was not allowed on the Ironclad set either, which is where Paul Giamatti punched his horse in the jaw in between takes in order to get the horse to ‘behave’ and stand still – and Giamatti even bragged about that on Conan. Seriously, if AHA isn’t allowed to monitor animal action, there’s a good bet that animals are going to get mistreated and/or abused.

    • jul

      Yeah, Mr. Giamatti lost all of my respect with that “anecdote.”

    • Friday

      WTF? This is SO not the image I had of Giamatti. Not.Cool.

    • Devina

      i can’t wait for London 2012, neither can my rcuksack friend.we are going to have such a blast at the Olympics, and so will everyone within a 20 meter radius. we are going to paint the town red, literally XD

  • sam

    people need to chill

  • Emma

    SO excited to see this film. AHA, seriously? That monkey probably cost the studio a hefty penny and I’m sure THAT was enough reason for them to treat it with “the utmost of care”. I’m not concerned.

  • mark

    speaking as someone who’s worked with Crystal before, her trainer Tom would never have let this happen. Crystal is better cared for than any actor on the sets she works on and while the Humane Society should have been present, the PETA spokesman’s comments are based on ignorance

    • just saying

      yeah, they set themselves up as the arbiters of all things animal and that’s just not right or fair to anyone involved. I’m not for taking wild animals out of the wild and putting them in stressful situations. But these days, most animal performers are raised in captivity and treated well and loved by their trainers/caretakers. Some animals actually do enjoy performing either. My issue with PETA is that they try to make everything a cookie cutter situation and it’s not. Sometimes your heart can bleed so much that your eyes can’t see.

      • Burak

        Aww, my behbehs are fauoms! Thank you for including them =) You captured them beautifully! Also, some of these (especially the one of the prairie dog) could totally be Animal Planet advertisements <3

  • Kurt

    I give my 6-year old pug a cigarette to smoke every now and then. of course he cant hold it so I just hold it to his mouth for a few minutes. whats the big deal, he’s usually very hyper and it always seems to relax him.

    • gupta

      does he inhale?

    • Yhatkie

      The anti-puppy mill projects have made such HUGE sreidts this year!! When I saw states starting to outlaw pet stores I knew we were making some huge progress! Its such a good feeling to know our government officials are doing something right & so many furry lives are being saved.

  • BonnieMunday

    Have movie idea for a new spin on an old classic. hope to hear from someone soon.

    • Dinesh

      University of PennsylvaniaResearch Study on evacuation dunirg Hurricane IreneWe’re interested in household evacuation dunirg Hurricane Irene and its effect on people with pets.If interested, please visit to complete a brief survey or email with any questions or concerns.

  • jen

    The American Humane Association is just upset that their staff didn’t get a trip to Thailand. AHA has lost all credibility in my opinion. Most animals are well-taken care of on sets, but the real abuse goes on prior to filming. Hey AHA! Try spending some time in your own backyard by checking out the training methods and living conditions of the very animals that are used in films. Not as glam as traveling and hanging out on film sets is it? Stop wasting donated money and make a real difference. Until then,
    an endorsement from the American Humane Association is worth absolutely NOTHING! And the animals continue to suffer.

  • anon

    If your donating to the American Humane Association with the thinking they are protecting animals….think again.

  • Ger51man

    Who gives a crap? Why can’t we just have a good movie? I quite sure they weren’t going to hurt the monkey. These groups PETA, AHA make my butt itch!!!! You mettle too much, hell you don’t know if the animals mind or not you’re not animal mind readers, get a life or better yet just shut up!!!!!


    They’re just trying to protect the monkey’s dignity. Monkeys are much happier throwing their feces at others and masturbating.

  • ??????

    I can’t wait until hunting season this fall. Blasting squirrels and rabbits and turkeys and whitetails. Yummy!

    • Alex

      We all know that fall is duck season

  • King Umlaut

    I don’t know about everyone else, however when my monkey’s bad, I spank him.

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