“Jackass Forever” debuted to positive reviews and is predicted to dominate the box office this weekend, but not everyone is on board with it. The film finds the “Jackass” crew continuing to think of innovative ways to hurt each other, and several stunts involving insect bites and bee stings have called their treatment of animals into question.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has taken a strong stance against the film, even calling for the production to be prosecuted. The organization is particularly concerned about a scene in which a swarm of bees is directed to sting Steve-O in the genital area, resulting in many of them dying. That scene, combined with other stunts involving scorpions, turtles, and a bull, have prompted PETA to write a letter to Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo County prosecutors calling for an investigation into the film.
“If Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville want to make a career out of nasty little boy fantasies, they’re entitled to, as long as they don’t stress, harm, poke, prod, scare, or bother animals who are used as living props for their idiocy,” PETA wrote in a statement. “PETA is reminding city and county prosecutors that no one is above the law and that while the rest of the world wants to save bees and recognizes animals as sentient individuals, these jackasses exploit and abuse them for fun.”
The film contains many stunts in which animals are provoked to bite, sting, or otherwise attack cast members, and PETA believes the harassment is in violation of state animal laws in California. Because much of the film was shot in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo counties, PETA believes that county level prosecutors have the jurisdiction to investigate.
The organization is not filing a lawsuit, but is simply encouraging law enforcement to look into the situation. However, it believes that Knoxville, Steve-O, and other cast members could be criminally liable, along with director Jeff Tremaine and producer Spike Jonze. Guest star Eric Andre was also named as a potential legal target. In addition to the more serious legal charges, PETA is also calling for a box office boycott of the film on moral grounds.