People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals upped its campaign this week against Paramount’s forthcoming Jackass Forever. In a letter to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Abourezk and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, PETA Cousel Caitlin Zittkowski wrote that the film’s trailer contains “scenes apparently involving cruelty to animals.”
She specifically calls out moments that include “Johnny Knoxville being charged by an agitated bull, a person being bitten on the nose by a captive snake, and a tarantula trapped in a plastic tube between two people’s heads.” She notes that, since the film appears to have been shot in L.A., any violations would lie within the purview of their offices. According to IMDb, production did in fact take place in L.A.
The bullfighting scene, for instance, may violate California Penal Code section 597(b), according to Zittkowski. She says that section applies to any person who “tortures” or “torments” or “subjects any animal to needless suffering.”
For example, alleges PETA, “the bull was likely placed in an unfamiliar location and bombarded with stress-inducing stimuli, and those orchestrating this scene likely took advantage of the bull’s anxiety to somehow provoke him into defending himself.”
While no report on the bull is available, Knoxville said the stunt left him unconscious and in the hospital with a broken rib, a broken wrist, a concussion and a hemorrhage on his brain.
PETA asks that the authorities bring charges, as appropriate, against the following: director Jeff Tremaine; actors Johnny Knoxville, Sean McInerney, Ehren McGhehey and Compston Wilson; the film’s producers, including Greg Iguchi, Shanna Zablow Newton, Knoxville, Stephen Glover, Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Sean Cliver, Dimitry Elyashkevich, Todd King, and Jason Baum; and those responsible for providing the animals for the production.
A perusal of the Twitter feeds of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and L.A. DA George Gascón provided no indications of any action, but it’s worth noting that Feuer is said to have his eye on the mayor’s office and Gascón leans fairly far left on the political spectrum.
PETA’s letter is not the only legal cloud hanging over the franchise. Last month, Jackass co-creator Bam Margera sued Johnny Knoxville, Paramount Pictures, MTV and others over his firing from the franchise’s upcoming movie.
Seeking millions of dollars in damages, the 39-page complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court cites “Defendants’ inhumane, abusive and discriminatory treatment of Plaintiff Margera, and for their wrongful termination of him from the Jackass franchise he created.”
Jackass Forever opens in theaters on February 4.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.