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Animal Rights Activists Rip GOP Gov. Candidate For 'Shameful' Publicity Stunt Involving Live Bear

John Cox/YouTube; @therecount/Twitter

Republican challengers have been coming out of the woodwork ever since it was announced Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California will face a recall election this upcoming November.

One Republican who's chosen a pretty strange gimmick to get noticed is John Cox, who released an ad repeatedly calling himself "The Beast" while comparing Gavin Newsom to a parrot.

The ad also heavily features a large bear.

Later, at a campaign event in Sacramento's Miller Regional Park, Cox appeared in person to give a speech alongside a live, 1,000-pound Kodiak bear.

Animal rights groups immediately called out Cox for his use of a live animal as a prop.

The bear was displayed in full sun on pavement, which can burn animals' paw pads.

Twitter also lampooned Cox for his strange, potentially dangerous choice.

Before long, John Cox's bear even had its own Twitter account.

Cox didn't seem to give any thought to his publicity stunt before hiring Tag, the Kodiak bear who was raised in captivity and has appeared in several movies.

Some Twitter users wondered if Cox might be met with some poetic justice.

If Cox wants any chance of distinguishing himself from the other Republicans and winning the upcoming recall election, he'd better think of a platform beyond "I have a bear" sometime in the near future.