Animal rights charities have criticised chart-topping Californian punk band the Offspring for using chimpanzees to act like humans – including in a strip club – in their latest music video.
Save the Chimps, a Florida-based sanctuary for chimpanzees that have been involved in scientific research, the entertainment industry and elsewhere, described the video as “animal exploitation at its worst”.
Earlier this week, Peta complained of “egregious exploitation of chimpanzees” by the video producers.
The band have not commented on the criticism. The Guardian has contacted them via their UK representatives.
The video is for the song We Never Have Sex Anymore, taken from the Offspring’s 10th studio album Let the Bad Times Roll, which reached No 3 in the UK charts in April.
In it, a pair of chimpanzees are depicted as husband and wife, dressed in clothes. The “wife” is also made to operate a vacuum cleaner, while the “husband” is made to brush his teeth. He is later filmed on a strip club set surrounded by dancers and patrons, including actor John Stamos, and made to play on a stripper’s pole.
Ana Paula Tavares, chief executive of Save the Chimps, said: “Using chimpanzees for entertainment isn’t just harmful, it’s downright immoral. It’s also entirely unnecessary with the advent of technology like CGI. The Offspring should apologise.”
She claimed that chimps used by the entertainment industry “are usually forced to work for many hours on end – their behaviour often manipulated through inhumane and fear-based ‘training’ that traumatises the animals forever”.
In an open letter to lead singer Dexter Holland, Peta’s Lauren Thomasson said: “Every minute your video remains online, it risks legitimising a cruel industry, propping up the exotic-‘pet’ trade, and reversing years of animal advocacy work that has nearly ended the use of chimpanzees in Hollywood.”
In 2020, Peta heralded “no more chimpanzees in Hollywood” after activism and the use of CGI helped reduce the use of chimpanzee actors to almost nothing. A 2018 documentary, The Last Chimpanzee, followed the post-acting life of one of them, Eli, who had starred in a music video by One Direction and a Microsoft advert among other projects.
In the UK, the most famous chimpanzee actors were those used by tea brand PG Tips in a series of adverts between 1956 and 2002, supplied by Twycross zoo in Leicestershire.
The zoo later admitted the use of the animals was harmful. “It’s not a good start in life to be treated like a human because they don’t learn ape behaviour and are not very good at being with other chimps,” said chief executive Sharon Redrobe in 2014.
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