September 8, 2021

“Some people never learn.” It’s what the folks behind Jackass Forever would have you believe. But PETA thinks there’s a valuable lesson for the people involved in the upcoming Paramount Pictures movie to learn, perhaps by way of prosecution: Abusing animals is unacceptable.

Did Jackass Forever break California animal protection laws when it tormented animals?

The Jackass Forever trailer shows Johnny Knoxville being charged by a bull, Sean McInerney being bitten on the nose by a snake, and a tarantula trapped in a plastic tube between Ehren McGhehey’s and Compston Wilson’s heads. The apparent abuse was reportedly filmed in Los Angeles County, so these exploits seem to violate California’s prohibitions on bullfighting and similar exhibitions, causing any animal to fight with a human, and cruelty to animals. Were other acts of cruelty committed on set, too, without making it into the trailer or the film’s final cut? PETA is urging city and county prosecutors to investigate.

“[M]onths before its release, Jackass Forever has already risked normalizing animal exploitation and legitimizing the cruel exhibitors who pimp out animals for productions,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk back in July after the film’s trailer first dropped.

After first urging Jackass Forever producers to remove stunts involving animals from the film, PETA is now requesting a criminal investigation into the production of the movie. In a letter to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Abourezk, PETA is urging both offices “to investigate and take appropriate legal action against those involved in filming scenes depicting cruelty to animals in the movie Jackass Forever.”

By investigating and holding Jackass Forever accountable for any violations revealed, authorities would be reminding the film industry that abusing animals is never OK.

Jackass stunts are violent and vulgar, but if the talent is willing and the wounds are self-inflicted, that’s one thing—however, it’s quite another when animals are exploited, harassed, and harmed: That’s cruelty,” said Newkirk.

‘Jackass Forever’ Stunts: Crude, Cruel, and … Criminal?

When bulls like this one charge, it’s often a result of being goaded. “To prompt him to attack, this bull was likely ‘teased and taunted,’” we wrote in our letter.

‘Jackass Forever’ Stunts: Crude, Cruel, and … Criminal?

Snakes are naturally reclusive and typically retreat from humans unless provoked. “This snake was forced into a novel, completely unnatural environment with bright lights and loud sounds (the vibrations of which snakes are very sensitive to), and likely forcibly handled,” PETA noted. “The conditions likely caused the snake mental distress to the point that the snake felt threatened and attacked as a fear response.”

‘Jackass Forever’ Stunts: Crude, Cruel, and … Criminal?

Like snakes, tarantulas are sensitive to vibrations, which they use to detect danger, so loud sounds and foreign environments are especially stressful for them. “[T]he possibility of either of these two people participating in this stunt ripping off their helmets and causing the tarantula to fall out of the tube is a deadly situation for the spider,” we point out in our letter.

Urge Jackass Forever to learn the difference: Knoxville opted to put on an outfit, enter the ring, and take part in a dangerous stunt—but the bull the movie exploited and likely taunted into charging Knoxville could never be a consenting participant.

Tweet at Jackass to urge its crew to stop normalizing exploitation and to remove animals from the movie: