An animal rights group is calling for a boycott of Martin Scorsese's upcoming film, The Wolf of Wall Street, because it features a chimpanzee in a suit roller-skating through an office.
Friends of Animals believe that Chance, the chimp playing DiCaprio's pet, may have been psychologically damaged as a result of being "forced" to act.
Friends of Animals' New York director, Edita Birnkrant, says the chimp may suffer from permanent neurotic behaviour and could ultimately become incapable of interacting with other animals. She is planning to "confront" both DiCaprio and Scorsese at the film's premiere in New York tomorrow.
"When The Wolf of Wall Street premieres in NYC, there is sure to buzz about whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays real life law-breaking stockbroker Jordan Belfort, will get an Oscar nod,"
"But what most likely won’t be talked about is one of DiCaprio’s co-stars, a chimpanzee named Chance who portrays his character’s pet, and the long-term damage that is done to primates exploited in entertainment," FoA said in a statement.
Birnkrant argues that there is no need to have real animals on set given the widespread use of computer generated characters in Hollywood such as Gollum, Yoda or King Kong.
"Surely Scorsese is aware of CGI used to create animals in films. Both of these powerful stars should have known better, yet have enabled and supported the industry that pimps out great apes and other wild animals for use in films as animal actors," she added.
The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker and founder of pump and dump Long Island firm Stratton Oakmont, who made a fortune in the nineties only to end up in jail for securities fraud and money laundering.
Last week, Danny Porush, the co-founder and ex-president of Stratton Oakmont, who is played by Jonah Hill in the film, denied that they partied with animals.
"There were no animals in the office...I would also never abuse an animal in any way," he told Mother Jones magazine in a recent interview.
He did admit to hiring "little people" as party guests but they were never thrown in the air as part of a “dwarf-tossing” competition as shown in the film.
“We never abused the midgets in the office; we were friendly to them,” he added. “There was no physical abuse.”
The Wolf of Wall Street also features a lion, a fish and dogs.
Watch the trailer below:
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