People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent complaints to the cast and director of Gladiator 2, accusing the production of using and abusing live animals on set.
In letters to ‘Gladiator 2’ star Pedro Pascal and director Ridley Scott, the animal rights organization is urging the production to stop working with horses and macaques after allegedly receiving ‘whistleblower reports’. PETA provided copies of the letters to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, confirming the organization had also complained to other cast members.
A source close to the production told the Times Tuesday that there were “no animal injuries or incidents” on the set of Gladiator 2, adding that a certified animal welfare officer on behalf of the American Humane Society was present during filming .
Representatives for Scott and Pascal did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
In a June 30 letter to Scott’s agent, PETA requested that the production “discard any plans to use primates or other wildlife during filming.” The letter cites a “whistleblower report” from the set of “Gladiator 2” in Malta, where “real primates” were said to have been used in the film.
The letter appeals to Scott, alleging a number of potential detrimental effects of the presence of primates on set, including “abusive training methods”, primate self-harm and stunted primate development.
“As you know, we have written to Mr. Scott hoping to discuss plans for animals and why it is imperative that wild animals not be exploited for the film,” the letter reads.
Another letter – addressed directly to Scott and dated July 14 – references a second “whistleblower report” alleging that a horse’s leg “failed on set, presumably due to the heat” in Malta. The letter states that concerns have been raised that horses are “exposed to hot temperatures and sometimes forced to stand in direct sunlight during and between recordings.”
“Scorching summer heat and oppressive costumes are a dangerous mix for horses, which are naturally timid animals, prone to flight and injury, and vulnerable to the stress of a film set,” the letter continues.
“The film and television industry has a history of horse injuries and even deaths on set. We sincerely hope that Gladiator 2 doesn’t add another death to this list.”
In a different approach, the letter also ties into PETA’s earlier primate complaint by laying out potential dangers that apes can pose to humans — such as violent instincts and the transmission of deadly viruses.
In a third letter to Pascal, PETA reiterated its concerns about the alleged use of horses and macaques in production.
“Please join us in urging Mr. Scott to stop using real animals now or at the start of filming in the event production ceases entirely,” the letter said of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
“You can see why using real animals — rather than the eclectic, lifelike CGI that’s prevalent today — represents a throwback to a much less enlightened time when people didn’t recognize animals as individuals with the ability to handle pain.” feel and suffer.”
Gladiator 2 is the upcoming sequel to the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, which won five Oscars including Best Picture. Scott was also nominated for directing the epic. The Paramount Pictures project’s cast includes Pascal, Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, Connie Nielsen and Djimon Hounsou.