In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film The Wolf of Wall Street, there’s a scene that features a young chimpanzee named Chance, who is owned by the Rosaire family. The Rosaire family, for those that don’t know, operate a traveling circus and have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. In the weeks leading up to the release of The Wolf of Wall Street, PETA wrote a letter to Scorsese and DiCaprio, urging them to remove that scene from the film and to never work with great apes again.
Of course, the scene remains in the film and now the organization is slamming DiCaprio for allowing it to happen:
“Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo DiCaprio should know better than to support the well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment,” PETA primatologist Julia Gallucci said. “PETA hopes the next time Leo receives a script with an ape ‘actor’ in it, he’ll remember that these sensitive animals are stolen from their mothers at birth and subjected to physical abuse — and he’ll demand a rewrite.”
PETA has even gone so far as to start a petition, aptly titled Ask Leonardo DiCaprio Never to Work With Great Apes Again, asking people to convince the actor not to partake in the animal cruelty and to set an example for Hollywood.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Chance’s exhibitor with repeatedly failing to provide chimpanzees with enough space, repeatedly failing to handle chimpanzees in a manner that ensured their safety and that of the public (for example, by putting a noose around chimpanzees’ necks in order to control them during public exhibition and by allowing a chimpanzee to injure a child), and repeatedly failing to provide chimpanzees with environmental enrichment,” PETA writes in the petition. “Furthermore, PETA has been told that while Chance was on set during the production of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ the American Humane Association intentionally assigned a representative who is not experienced with primates, rather than its primatologist.”
“Despite his reputation as someone who cares about the environment, DiCaprio didn’t take the chimpanzee scene out of the movie and failed to respond to an appeal from PETA as well as thousands of other pleas from people and groups concerned about primate welfare,” the petition further states. “By setting an example for the rest of Hollywood, he can help prevent more great apes from suffering the way Chance [has].”
Unfortunately, there has been no comment from DiCaprio on the matter, which is a bit surprising as he is someone who is generally very outspoken on environmental concerns. Hopefully we’ll hear something from his camp once the film hits theatres.
For now, you can check out PETA’s video below and be sure to sign the petition so we can put an end to the abuse that is taking place.