The director’s film on stockbroker Jordan Belfort, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is accused of abusing animals during its shoot
A US animal rights group is calling for a boycott of the new Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, over scenes in which star Leonardo DiCaprio is seen acting alongside a rollerskating chimpanzee.
The organisation, Friends of Animals, says chimp Chance may have been permanently damaged on a psychological level by the experience of acting. Activist Edita Birnkrant is planning to confront Scorsese and DiCaprio over the matter at tomorrow night’s Big Apple premiere, according to Variety.
“When The Wolf of Wall Street premieres in NYC on 17 December, there is sure to [be] buzz about whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays real life law-breaking stockbroker Jordan Belfort, will get an Oscar nod,” writes the group in a statement. “But what 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.”
Birnkrant says the chimp is likely to suffer negative and neurotic behaviours and an inability to socially interact with others of its kind. In an article titled “Animals in Entertainment – Hollywood’s Betrayal of Great Apes” in the organisation’s Action Line magazine, she details Chance’s “life story of exploitation” and describes “the cruel teaching methods” of a circus trainer earlier in his life.
The Wolf of Wall Street, a three-hour black comedy about the notorious financial fraudster Jordan Belfort, was last week named one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute and is indeed being tipped for Oscars success. The movie’s early scenes depict chaotic parties in the offices of Belfort’s 1990s Long Island brokerage house Stratton Oakmont, but his real-life partner has denied suggestions a chimpanzee was ever present.
Danny Porush, who is portrayed by Jonah Hill in the movie (albeit under a different name after the broker threatened to sue) told Mother Jones magazine: “There was never a chimpanzee in the office. There were no animals in the office … I would also never abuse an animal in any way.”
However, the former president of Stratton Oakmont did admit to eating a fellow broker’s goldfish, and hiring little people to mingle at drug-fuelled office parties.
“We never abused [or threw] the midgets in the office; we were friendly to them,” he points out in the magazine’s article. “There was no physical abuse.”
Porush, who was sentenced to 39 months in prison for securities fraud and money laundering in 2004, said Belfort’s 2007 memoir (used by screenwriter Terence Winter as the basis of The Wolf of Wall Street’s script) was only a loose translation of the reality at Stratton Oakmont between 1988 and 1996. “The book … is a distant relative of the truth, and the film is a distant relative of the book,” he said.
Criticism of The Wolf of Wall Street’s use of a chimpanzee arrives as Hollywood comes under ever-increasing scrutiny for its employment of animals on screen. The Hollywood Reporter last month published a report which accused industry body The American Humane Association of negligence. The organisation, which issues the coveted “no animals were harmed in the making of this picture” stamp that adorns most Hollywood films, was accused of turning a blind eye to mistreatment of animals on the sets of major films.
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Humanitarian volunteer says he won’t be deterred after facing charges in Arizona for helping migrants
We broadcast live from Tucson, Arizona, where the government recently put humanitarian activist Scott Warren on trial amid the ongoing policing of the U.S.-Mexico border, separation of families, and cruel and inhumane conditions at immigrant jails across the country. Warren, a longtime volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, was charged with three felony counts for his alleged crime of providing food, water and shelter to migrants in Ajo, Arizona. The immigrants had arrived at the doorstep of a humanitarian shelter after a perilous journey across the Sonoran Desert. At the same time, he and other volunteers also faced separate misdemeanor charges for leaving water jugs and food for migrants on a national wildlife refuge in the remote desert. The trial took eight days, and after hours of deliberation, the jury returned without a verdict. Eight found Scott Warren not guilty; the remaining four said he was. The government will now retry Warren in November. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. As he awaits his next trial, Scott Warren met us in the remote town of Ajo, Arizona, this weekend for his first trip in a year to leave water and food for migrants in the desert.
Trump tweets out bonkers conspiracy theory that Google ‘manipulated’ up to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton
President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted out a bonkers conspiracy theory claiming that Google "manipulated" up to 16 million votes on behalf of former Democratic rival during the 2016 presidential election.
"Wow, Report Just Out!" the president wrote. "Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!"
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch
Trump’s economic adviser doesn’t see a recession coming — but he said the same thing in 2008
President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser insists there are no signs of a recession on the horizon -- but he's been staggeringly wrong before.
Larry Kudlow went on NBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend to assure viewers that no economic downturn was coming, but the Washington Post's Aaron Blake pointed out that his track record for predictions was pitiful.
“Well, I’ll tell you what: I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow told host Chuck Todd. “So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”