New Scorsese Film Slated ​For ​Using Chimpanzee ​ "Actor​"

Dec 26, 2013 8:00 AM ET
Campaign: CSR Blogs


One of the Christmas season mainstream film releases is the latest Martin Scorsese offering. The Wolf of Wall Street. Based on the biography of Wall Street rogue stockbroker, Jordan Belfort, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. The movie serves up a heady cocktail of excessive behavior, such as massive drug use, money squandering, debauchery and ​keeping a rollerskating pet chimpanzee in the office.​ ​ ​​The Wolf of Wall Street ​ ​has ​received mixed review​s while the use of a live chimpanzee in a film has been met with dismay by animal rights activists, who accuse Scorsese of abusing Chance (the chimpanzee’s name) by forcing him to perform.

Leading a campaign to boycott the film is Friends of Animals, which on Tuesday​​ ​a​​t the New York premiere​ confronted the film’s star for not objecting to act alongside the great ape. ​FoA​ took DiCaprio to task because he heads a conservation organization, which makes his stance towards the chimpanzee all the more surprising considering the increasing cultural rejection of animal ​abuse​.

In an article about Hollywood’s track record in animal exploitation, FoA’s Edita Birnkrant outlines an expos​é​ of Chance’s life story and the cruel teaching methods of his circus animal trainer, Pam Rosaire. ​With so much information available, thi​s ​faux-pas by Scorcese and his team is totally out of line with current thought on great apes. A couple of years ago, the Institute of Medicine released a report, “Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity." It concluded ​that the use of chimpanzees for invasive biomedical research is unnecessary​. Since then, ​great apes​ in government ​custody​ are being retired ​and ​sent to Chimp Haven ​sanctuary in Louisiana, where they will live out their remaining years​. ​ ​

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Antonio Pasolini is a Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade. He is also a happy herbivore.