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PETA DiCaprio: Leonardo DiCaprio monkey dance in movie prompts letter, criticism

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PETA is not happy with Leonardo DiCaprio this week, as the animal rights activist organization recently wrote a letter to the “Wolf of Wall Street” actor over a “monkey dance” clip in the film — a scene in which he filmed with a young chimpanzee. In the upcoming Martin Scorsese movie, DiCaprio is said to haul the ape around in a full office stuffed with coworkers down in Manhattan, garnering sharp criticism. NewsMax shares the complaint from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals toward the Hollywood star this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

The PETA DiCaprio story begins with the organization sending a letter directly to Leonardo DiCaprio earlier this month, as part of their formal response to the actor to not film with monkeys, chimpanzees, or the like in the future because of the way these animals have been treated poorly by movie studios in the recent past.

According to the report, the letter to stop this monkey dance was also given alongside a special PETA video for Dicaprio. In the footage, the animal-oriented organization provides numerous examples where Hollywood apes have been mistreated. Anjelica Huston helped voice the video’s narration.

"Undercover investigations have documented that physical abuse of ape 'actors' during preproduction training is standard practice," PETA contends, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports that found instances in which "the trainers of great apes [were] cited for the failure to provide veterinary care, and for confining animals to filthy, undersized cages."

"Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo DiCaprio should know better than to support the well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment," PETA primatologist Julia Gallucci says in an online petition. "PETA hopes 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."

Leonardo DiCaprio, aside from this potential misstep in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is well-known for his efforts for both animal and environmental support groups in both the U.S. and abroad. He actually started his own protective agency back in 1998, which is said to be "dedicated to protecting Earth’s last wild places and fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world," according to its website.

There have been no comments yet from DiCaprio or his agents on this criticism from PETA.

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