People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a wildly divisive, controversial organization that claims it aims to increase awareness of animal suffering and decrease that suffering through getting people to examine their relationship with animals and animal products.
According to their mission statement:
"PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: in laboratories, in the food industry, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment business."
The way that they aim to accomplish this mission seems to end up involving naked celebrities a surprising amount of the time, though.
Their latest campaign—an attempt to bring awareness to the existence of plant-based leathers like those made from pineapple or mushrooms—featured actress Alicia Silverstone.
In the ad, Silverstone bares it all—wearing nothing but vegan leather boots and her own carefully placed hands to cover herself.
PETA also released a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, featuring an interview with Silverstone.
At the beginning of the video, Silverstone is seen sitting on location in a bathrobe talking about her motivation for the shoot.
"If it takes me getting naked to get you to care about animals, then that is what I'm after."
Silverstone, well known for her portrayal of protagonist Cher Horowitz in the 1995 film Clueless, has been vocal about her support for animal rights since she became a vegan in 1999. So her support of PETA's message in this campaign is not surprising.
"Today I'm doing a photoshoot with PETA. I never, ever get naked. In TV, in film, nothing. Never. Nope. But I've done it for PETA, because that's how much it matters to me."
She also shared some of PETA's talking points on the subject of animal leather.
"There’s this idea that leather is somehow better for the earth. But what they don’t realize is the amount of resources, water, food, oil for transport, the amount of energy that goes into making leather is extraordinary. It’s just not sustainable. The earth can’t handle it."
She offered some real ideas for getting vegan leather out to the masses too.
"My dream is to get these earth-friendly, vegan materials into the hands of the greatest designers. I’d rather go naked than wear animals."
Watch the full behind-the-scenes video below:
Alicia Silverstone Joins PETA for a Prickly New Campaign www.youtube.com
PETA also shared the ad, shot by photographer Brian Bowen Smith and featuring the slogan "Don't be a prick. Wear vegan." on their Instagram.
They then posted the photo over and over and tagged multiple other celebrities on Twitter in an apparent attempt to pressure them into supporting their organization.
\u201c@JohnCleese Beloved friend, co-star, & dedicated advocate\u2014Alicia Silverstone is taking yet another powerful stand for animals \ud83d\udc4f\ud83d\udc9a \n\nJoin us in sharing her important message that #vegan leather is better for our planet & every species on it! https://t.co/0nhonY9Fev\u201d— PETA (@PETA) 1671654245
\u201c@NathanFillion Beloved friend, co-star, & dedicated advocate\u2014Alicia Silverstone is taking yet another powerful stand for animals \ud83d\udc4f\ud83d\udc9a \n\nJoin us in sharing her important message that #vegan leather is better for our planet & every species on it! https://t.co/0nhonXS3PV\u201d— PETA (@PETA) 1671654424
As is usual with PETA, reactions to the vegan leather awareness campaign were incredibly mixed.
Many people questioned both PETA's current ad campaign and their past behavior.
\u201c@aj15702185 I have been objecting to this stupidity since 1989, when PETA first started it.\u201d— Prof. Gary Francione (@Prof. Gary Francione) 1671584679
\u201cDoes anyone think that this sexist bullshit changes anyone's mind or does anything other than make the animal issue look silly or misogynistic? https://t.co/lapVqg6KXl\u201d— Prof. Gary Francione (@Prof. Gary Francione) 1671584679
\u201cI cook mostly vegan, although I add some fish. A person appearing naked to convince me to be vegan isn\u2019t going to help me along that path. Tbh, it seems silly & attention-grabbing.\nhttps://t.co/BMx7agkGtt\u201d— I Stand With Ukraine \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@I Stand With Ukraine \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1671652079
\u201c@garylfrancione PETA has done more harm to animal rights than Ted Nugent. They have zero credibility & their stunts are embarrassing.\u201d— Prof. Gary Francione (@Prof. Gary Francione) 1671584679
\u201c@kaykryssal @BrennaIsRight @peta @Starbucks It\u2019s a known problem, peta kidnaps family pets, and puts them in shelters that have higher kill rates than most other animal shelters.\u201d— PETA (@PETA) 1671400925
\u201c@garylfrancione Challenging the commodification of animal bodies by reinforcing the commodification women\u2019s bodies is a tedious misogyny.\u201d— Prof. Gary Francione (@Prof. Gary Francione) 1671584679
While others simply appreciated anything that calls attention to animal rights.
I'm not a fan of this kind of advert, but if it helps in the fight for animal rights then I'm for it.
— Lindy 🏴 🌱 (@Lindy_Sommers) December 21, 2022
While I completely agree that PETA is seriously flawed with many of their campaigns & certainly their actions regarding domesticated animals, I really feel that they have furthered the cause of animal rights. Any campaign that shines the light on skin of dead animals I'm all for.
— veganbetty ⓥ (@veganbetty) December 21, 2022
I am OK with pretty much anything that draws attention to the issue.
— elongaetz (@beowulf) December 21, 2022
Silverstone has said before she thinks her Clueless character Cher would be on board with veganism.
She told Bustle earlier this year:
"I love to think that Cher would totally be on board with being vegan."
"Because she woke up at the end, she stopped being materialistic and started to understand, with the help of Josh, that the world could use a lot of healing and love."
"So I like to think she would have evolved into someone that would be on my side."