PETA protests at 'Zookeeper' premiere. Director says animals were treated 'with love and respect'


Image Credit: Columbia TriStar

About 50 sign-wielding protesters showed up to the premiere of Kevin James’ new film, Zookeeper, at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, Calif., last night to decry the film for alleged cruelty to animals, a claim Sony Pictures and director Frank Coraci have denied.

“It doesn’t hamper my good mood or my celebration at all because I am completely secure with what happened on our set and believe we did everything we could to treat the animals well,” Coraci told EW on the red carpet. “First of all, I love that we live in a country where you can protest and you can have your opinion heard. That’s awesome. But in this case, they do not have a leg to stand on because we worked with people who love their animals and [the American] Humane Association was there to ensure that they were being treated correctly. We didn’t do anything that we shouldn’t do. We treated the animals with love and respect.”

In September 2009, the organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, first took aim at the film after reports that a giraffe died on set. At last night’s premiere, however, Coraci said, “It was actually a very sad day when Tweet the giraffe died. She was a friend and a big part of the movie. I cried. But she had finished shooting already like a couple of days before [she] passed in [her] enclosure at the zoo.” Coraci also denied claims that an elephant from Have Truck Will Travel, a company which has been accused of abuse in the past, was used for the film.

In a statement to EW, Julia Galleucci, an animal behavior specialist with PETA, wrote,”PETA is calling upon moviegoers to boycott the film in order to send a message to Hollywood that audiences care about what happens to these animals behind the scenes.”

(Additional reporting by Carrie Bell.)

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Comments (60 total) Add your comment
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  • whatevs

    If it makes PETA feel better, I think people will boycott the movie because it has 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

    • Bill

      Anything to get themselves noticed and in the front pages of the news I guess. . .

      PETA does more to hurt animal rights than they do to help.

      • Billy

        I must say I enjoy their topless protesters.

    • Seth

      I support the Humane Society and local animal rescue branches, but PETA does so much to hurt our cause because people think animal rights and automatically think we’re like those loony tunes that are just looking for attention. Most people like me wish PETA would just go away.

      • Ruby


      • Katyo

        Same here, I am an avid animal rights activist and every time I see the word PETA, I cringe. They are like children most of the time. Heck, sometimes I wonder if they’re actually an organization who DOESN’T believe in animal rights, as they seem to do more harm than good.

  • EC

    Hard to say they were treated with “Love and Respect” due to the fact they are in the piece of #@^& movie to begin with.

  • tomm

    PETA loves to jump to conclusions and always assumes somehow that animals were abused.

    They say all pets and kept animals should ‘roam free’, but most would die.

  • crispy

    See, I thought this movie was considered cruelty to humans.

    • PS

      My thoughts exactly!

  • Jay

    I guess PETA has nothing better to do

  • Clete

    The animals were treated with “Love and Respect.” However the audience….

  • Kat

    Training animals is cruel? Um, NOT training animals can be cruel. Elephants are pretty much brilliant. So are the great apes. Now, I don’t like seeing great apes in films because they deserve better and people tend to think they’re funny rather than amazingly intelligent and valuable almost-humans…but training gives their minds something to do since they don’t have to think about foraging and hunting and defending their territories and so on. I guess it depends on the training methods used…but training in itself isn’t cruelty.

    • Kat

      I forgot to add….shut up, PETA. (After all their crying-wolf shenanigans, I just can’t take them seriously as an animal welfare group. Also – go vegan, my ass.)

      • jules

        I’m a vegetarian, and PETA embarrasses the crap outta me. They are just a bunch of hypocrites whose priorities are completely f’ed up.

    • An Elephant

      Thanks Kat! We elephants love to be captured and trained to perform for humans. Living a life with my family in Africa is fine, I guess, but I long for small cages and to be poked with razor sharp bamboo shoots so I’ll stand on my hind legs. My mind is wasted raising baby elephants and playfully spraying my spouse with my trunk as we swim. I long to be used as a prop by Jim Carrey or Ryan Renoylds. Or both in the same movie with me?! Probably not, but an elephant can dream, can’t he?

      • Michael

        Well, if you weren’t trained, you wouldn’t be able to type that so YOU’RE WELCOME.

      • An Elephant

        No, I have voice to text.

      • Katyo

        In a perfect world, no animal would be caged. However, habitat destruction, pollution, and poaching are huge threats that can decimate wild populations of existing animals. Sometimes zoo and conservation work is the only avenue left for these creatures. I wish it weren’t so, but sadly, it is.

  • wgalvira

    I really hope no one ever mistreat any animal for any move.

  • Cris

    Dammit PETA, don’t you guys realize you only hurt yourself when you do stupid things like this? It’s a noble cause, but when you come across like the left-wing version of the Westboro Baptist Church and protest every little thing, you hurt your own cause.
    This movie should be boycotted, but not by any specific group. It should be boycotted by moviegoers everywhere.

  • Steve P

    PETA, Where they’re right, everyone else is wrong!

  • SB


  • EH

    I dont believe animals were during the make of this movie. Im sure the giraffe just died of natural causes or maybe it was sick. Why does PETA have to jump to conclusions ?

    • EH


  • no u didnt

    Why doesnt PETA jump on the animals cases about going vegan? Like go into a lions den and tell them to stop eating meat and start eating the grass around them or some fruit. Tell the eagle its not allowed to hunt anymore it schould it the berries off the trees.
    We are meat eating animals, but by choice some decide not to eat it, so it doesnt mean that everyone should follow. Give choice a chance and go chace something that really is hurting animals for fun.

    • Ben

      My thoughts exactly. PETA spends roughly 95% percent of their budget for bullsh1t things like harassing people and for their stupid ads. Hardly any of their money goes to ACTUALLY helping the animals.

    • Sandra

      Darling no u didn’t, it’s very amusing to read your comment and realize the depth of ignorance in the public at large, which you represent. If you bother to actually do any research before spewing anything that comes to mind, you will find that humans were originally vegetarian, which is the only thing they could be in their natural state, since they could not do the murdering of animals without weapons. And they were a lot better off also because with meat consumption come all the illnesses which eventually kill us. Most wild animals on the other hand are naturally carnivorous and made that way, not requiring weapons to acquire the meat they need for survival. Thus they are the opposite of us, requiring meat for health, whereas it destroys ours. So you just keep on in your blissful ignorance and you will then be destroyed sooner rather than later as well. But if you actually enjoy life and would prefer it continue in a healthy and long fashion, I’d do some research.

      • tom

        YES BUT YOUR ANNOYING….wheres my double cheeseburger!

    • Lisa

      While I think Sandra is wrong on some of her points, she is absolutely correct that humans do not need meat. I’m a meat and potatoes person myself but that’s a choice. We could easily survive without it.

    • tom

      WHY THIS MOVIE? UMMMMMM…….lets think…..night at the museum… doolittle……..the great outdoors….ETC…..o well …..leave it to PETA….get over it….I am sure the zoos made money by letting their animals participate!

    • Katyo

      You don’t really “get” nature, do you?

    • Heather P

      I think PETA wants the Lions to survive on tufo and vitamins.

  • Cameron J

    Damn! Chill out, PETA! You sound like the kind of people who’d protest StarFox because it has all animal characters fighting wars and that means they think it’s OK to laser dogs. Or something. Not everyone is a sinner; nor everything a sin! o.o

  • Kelsey

    I’m pretty liberal, but any time I see anything about PETA protesting, I just want to eat a cheeseburger. Maybe if they spent money on shelters (and yes PETA runs kill shelters) and vet care instead of shock/stunt protests and ads, they might ACTUALLY help animals.

    • tom


    • Katyo

      I’ll never forget a protest I read about years ago (over in Europe I believe), where PETA dumped a bunch of dead fish and other sea creatures in the middle of a public square to protest – you guessed it – overfishing. That was the moment I started hating PETA. What a bunch of morons.

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