A Dog’s Purpose: Running into Hot, Troubled Waters

For one of my birthday celebrations, I invited my friends from Doyon school to go see My Dog Skip at Chunky’s.  My Dog Skip was about a 9-year-old kid named Willie Morris (played by Frankie Muniz) who was given a Jack Russell terrier for his birthday.  The story showcases how the dog fundamentally changes various aspects of Willie’s life.  It released on March 3rd, 2000 and featured Diane Lane, Kevin Bacon, Luke Wilson, Clint Howard, and other notable actors.

It was an incredible family drama that starred one of the coolest dogs as a cast.  When watching the film, I enjoyed watching Skip as the main character.  My Dog Skip was one of many heartfelt films featuring an animal as the main star.  There are a wide range of films where animals become the stars rather than the actual actors/actresses.  Most of these films broke major bank at the box office because human beings are compassionate towards animals.  One upcoming film has everyone in uproars after a disturbing video was released.

Last week TMZ released a video showing a frightened German shepherd being forced into the turbulent waters during the set of A Dog’s Purpose.  The video shows an animal handler grabbing the dog by the collar and forcing him into the water while the dog tries to scurry off from the set.  It goes on for about 40 seconds before cutting to a clip of a scene being filmed.  This video spread like wildfire, sparking outrage among the social media community.

Millions of people rallied to boycott the film and employees are scrambling to fix the PR nightmare that was created from the clip.  Just days before the film is released, several employees involved in the film are offering more details on what happened in the video.  Many of them are divided over condemning the actions and some insist that the treatment wasn’t as bad as it looked.  Whatever the case may be, this PR nightmare spread like wildfire and it isn’t ceasing anytime soon.

Dennis Quaid, who is one of the stars of the film, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss his thoughts on the controversial video.  He stated that, “the video does not tell the entire story,” and that the animals “were treated with the greatest respect and care and compassion.”  On that note, he also added that he wasn’t present when the scene was shot in October 2015.  Even though he wasn’t present for that video, it was interesting that he defended the video that sparked so much outrage.

Whatever the case may be about the provocative clip, it certainly sparked nationwide outrage with its audience.  The film is still set to release on January 27th even after all the backlash.  This is an interesting PR nightmare where social media provided a horrific glimpse of how films are really made when they involve animals.  But if social media wasn’t around, would there still have been backlash?  There’s been many films where live animals were used on the set, yet they never suffered the same PR nightmare that is going on today.

This is an interesting case where various factors were involved in this PR nightmare.  Social media started booming around 2010 and people stayed in tune with what’s really happening in the world.  But on another note, America’s social culture gradually evolved over the past 20-30 years.  So, the questions we have to ask ourselves is: did social media gradually shift our social culture over the years?  Or have people seen enough animal cruelty over time that we really started getting serious about this?  And if so, did social media play a part in enhancing people’s awareness of animal cruelty in society?

In this 21st century, we have to ask ourselves some hard questions about what is socially acceptable in our country.  What was once socially acceptable 20-30 years ago doesn’t sit well with the majority of Americans.  We have seen gay marriage become legal in all 50 states, recreational cannabis use legal in 1/5 of the country, and woman have become more proactive in standing up for their human rights.  Social media opened up a window of opportunities for us to explore, thus gradually shifting the social culture here in America.  It’s reasons like this why A Dog’s Purpose received so much backlash over the controversial video that was released a week ago.

This was an interesting PR nightmare to explore!  I am definitely against animal cruelty or abuse of any kind.  It really is an issue that we need to deplete in order to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all animals.  I love my cat Beavis and wouldn’t even think to abuse her ever!

While I stand against animal abuse, it was interesting to write about this controversial video that was released last week.  Animal abuse has no place here in America and animals deserve the same love that we give to our friends/family.  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of numbers show up on the box office for A Dog’s Purpose when it releases tomorrow.  Who knows, maybe the video could still hurt the film’s publicity in the long run.  For now, let’s take a moment to show some love to our amazing pets that we have in our lives.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s