PETA angry over Di Caprios’ primate co-star
Leonardo DiCaprio has been taken to task by animal rights organization PETA.
The group slammed the 39-year-old star last week for a scene in his current film The Wolf of Wall Street, in which he shares screen time with a chimpanzee named Chance, according to RadarOnline.
PETA claims that the actor's decision to consent to scenes with a trained primate perpetuates animal cruelty and started a petition, pleading with the star: 'Please pledge never to work with great apes again!'
PETA revealed Monday that more than 40,000 fans have signed a petition, according to Radar.
The scene in question portrays a wild office party at a stock brokerage owned by Leo's character, Jordan Belfort.
'Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo DiCaprio should know better than to support well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment,' PETA primatologist Julia Galluci said in a statement.
'PETA hopes that 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 is particularly concerned that the chimpanzee in the film is employed by the Rosaire family, 'which is notorious for operating a traveling circus that forces chimpanzees to perform cruel and unnatural acts.'
PETA claims that the Rosaires have been cited by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act and says that a whistleblower told PETA, that the on-set monitor assigned to the film by the American Humane Society allegedly had no experience with primates.
DiCaprio has not commented on the petition, but has been quick to distance his lifestyle from that of his hedonistic character, whose life becomes overshadowed by sex and drugs.
He told Extra: ''Please don't compare me with this dude at all! Are you out of your mind?'
In fact the actor said he disapproves of his antics, no matter how much he enjoyed the role.
He said: 'I became obsessed with playing him because I felt he kinda represented all that is wrong with America today.
'His attitude was something that I felt needed to be put up on the screen.'
DiCaprio has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for his The Wolf of Wall Street role.