column by isabelleswanson
The recent controversy associated with the movie “A Dog’s Purpose,” released Jan. 27, has turned to public’s attention toward the way animals are treated in the movie industry. TMZ released a video of the shooting of a water scene for the movie in which a German Shepherd named Hercules showed signs of distress.
The following boycott of the movie became the center of the media buzz around what would have otherwise been a light-hearted, feel-good movie for the whole family.
According to the New York Times, this incident was taken out of context, and in reality, the dog had trained for several months for the now infamous water scene. Several trained professionals were also on scene and constantly monitoring the animal’s well being. After diving into this topic for several days, I have personally concluded that this whole incident is a misunderstanding, and it saddens me to see false accusations of animal abuse.
I am, at the same time, interested in the resulting boycott. As consumers, we have an obligation to be thoughtful about where we spend our money.
The purpose of “A Dog’s Purpose” (and every other movie, service and product) is not only to make us feel something, but to make us feel so strongly we reach for our wallets. Until that is disrupted, companies will continue to do as they have always done. And there is nothing wrong with that.
In the free market we have (Can you tell I’ve been paying attention in Entrepreneurship?), companies are free to make profits, and consumers are free to support what we wish to support with our almighty dollars.
I can talk until I am blue in the face about how the movie industry doesn’t portray women well, and believe me, I have, but if I continue to buy tickets to those movies, I’m only adding fuel to the fire. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
As frustrating as it is to say, the way we spend our money is the most impactful way we interact with the world]. Whether it is buying cruelty-free products or tickets to cruelty-free movies, every transaction is a signal to the world about what we find important.
The discussion about the “A Dog’s Purpose” incident, I believe, is misguided. I do not believe there is an epidemic of animal abuse on movie sets in Hollywood. In fact, I would say Hollywood as a whole is doing a great job when handling animals. In (my favorite movie) “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” several people were on set for a single grasshopper.
Although large companies can seem to be only cold boardroom meetings where CEOs yell about bottom lines, we need not look further than the shelves in stores to see what kind of an impact people can make.
Businesses stay afloat so long as they are meeting the needs of their customers. When customers are upset or not taken care of, they have not only a right, but an obligation to speak out.
P.S. If anyone knows where to apply for a position as a grasshopper wrangler, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.