Looks like another adorable, innocent movie about dogs, right? Well, recently the movie’s come under fire for the questionable treatment of one of the dogs by crew members.
3. Leaked Footage
After TMZ leaked the above video, people were outraged, and rightfully so! In case you don’t feel like watching, the video shows a crew member and an adorable German Shepherd named Hercules on set by some rushing water.
Twitter users were understandably angry about the crew’s treatment of Hercules. One user tweeted: “#BoycottADogsPurpose - animal cruelty for entertainment is vile. A (terrified) dog’s purpose is not to make you millions in the box office.”
Of course, PETA, the animal rights activist group, had strong opinions about the incident. They called for a boycott of the movie shortly after the footage was leaked, stating that they’re “calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.”
After the downpour of criticism, the film’s producers, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment stated that, “Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film.”
Amblin also said in a statement that “there were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts ... On the day of the shoot, [he] did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.”
A representative of the American Humane Association was present on set to make sure that all animals in the film were treated humanely...but later was suspended after the video footage was leaked. Officials from the AHA said they would investigate the situation further.
After all of the controversy, Amblin Entertainment decided to cancel the premiere and press junket for the film, which was set to take place this weekend. They issued a statement, saying that “Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”