Activists are raising concerns about what they call clear cases of animal cruelty in the new “Jackass” movie, including several scenes of different animals being struck or otherwise goaded into biting or stinging the film’s participants.
Officials with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say they’ve sent letters to prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo County — where some of the movie’s action was filmed — calling for a criminal investigation into the film’s production. PETA says the action was taken “following a screening of `Jackass Forever’ that reveals what seems inarguably cruel treatment of animals, including a stunt in which Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O provoke honeybees into stinging Steve-O’s penis (killing many of them) and another in which a scorpion is put in someone’s mouth and hit repeatedly until the animal stings.”
Representatives for Paramount Pictures, Knoxville and Steve-O did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Other scenes in the film cited by the animal rights group include “a spider being provoked into biting an actor’s chest, a turtle being harassed and goaded until the animal bites an actor’s testicles, a captive snake harangued and provoked into biting a person’s nose, a tarantula trapped in a tube between two participants’ faces, and a bull deliberately agitated into charging Knoxville,” PETA said.
“If Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville want to make a career out of nasty little boy fantasies, they’re entitled to, as long as they don’t stress, harm, poke, prod, scare, or bother animals who are used as living props for their midiocy,” said Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president “PETA is reminding city and county prosecutors that no one is above the law and that while the rest of the world wants to save bees and recognizes animals as sentient individuals, these jackasses exploit and abuse them for fun,” she added.
The allegations are ironic in the case of Steve-O, who has voiced his concern for animal welfare in the past and even spoken out about his vegan diet — although he clarified in 2019 that he eats fish and was therefore no longer a vegan but a pescatarian. “Jackass Forever” — the latest in a line of films based on the MTV television show that first aired in 2000 — is on track to be the top-grossing film at the box office this weekend, with industry estimates predicting a gross of $20.7 million at North American theaters.