WARNING: This video may not be suitable for all audiences.
A leaked video from the filming of A Dog’s Purpose, showing the apparent distress of a German Shepherd has sparked a boycott and outrage from around the globe.
As of Thursday evening,the premiere of the movie has been cancelled because of the footage, as reported by Variety.
Amblin, the film’s producer, and Universal Pictures, its distributor, released the following statement, according to The Hollywood reporter:
Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.
Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.
The movie, which was set to release January 27, stars Dennis Quaid and celebrates the love between pets and their owners. However, the video above shows far from what most would consider a show of “love.”
The German Shepherd can be seen being forced into rushing, violent waters while desperately trying to escape the situation.
The clip, obtained by TMZ, shows a man wrestling an obviously distressed dog to get it into the water. The footage then shows the animal submerged as people are swimming towards it. At the end, a voice can be heard yelling, “Cut it! Cut it!”
The video, which surfaced on Wednesday, was recorded in 2015, and the source that filmed it is not clear, according to the New York Times.
In a joint statement by Amblin and Universal Pictures before the cancellation, it was said that the German Shepherd named Hercules was “happy and healthy.”
The statement reads:
A DOG’S PURPOSE, produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs. And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.
While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.
Frozen star Josh Gad, the actor behind the voices of the dogs in A Dog’s Purpose, released the following Tweet in response to the outrage:
PETA also responded to the video. The organization stated, “BREAKING: Footage shows a terrified dog reportedly forced into rushing water on the set of A Dog’s Purpose,” via Facebook and posted the following clip:
The post garnered more than 93,000 shares at the time of publishing.
PETA’s website encourages people to boycott the movie by taking a pledge to “not purchase tickets to A Dog’s Purpose or any other movies that use live animals.”