What is the Pete Davidson vs PETA clash and who is in the clear?

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulJun 07, 2023 | 17:10

What is the Pete Davidson vs PETA clash and who is in the clear?

In the realm of controversy, comedian Pete Davidson's pet purchase ignited a fiery clash with PETA. Known for their strong advocacy and eyebrow-raising tactics, PETA has a history of turning heads, their approach often straddling the line between effective advocacy and a full-blown media circus.

Celebrity comedian and Saturday Night Live alum, Pete Davidson, recently found himself in the middle of a controversy surrounding his decision to purchase a dog from a pet store. The actor, known for his candid and often controversial remarks, didn't hold back when responding to criticism from animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). While some may argue that Davidson's response was excessive, it sheds light on a larger issue of pet adoption and the choices individuals make when bringing a furry friend into their lives.



Davidson was spotted buying a new pup from Citipups in New York City just weeks after the actor's family experienced the loss of their beloved two-year-old dog, Henry. PETA voiced their concern over Davidson's decision to purchase a dog from a pet store instead of adopting from a shelter, stating that shelters are overflowing with homeless animals and urging the actor to adopt in the future.

Davidson, however, didn't take kindly to PETA’s criticism. In an explicit voicemail to Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's senior vice-president of cruelty investigations, Davidson defended his choice and shared his reasons for buying a specific breed. He explained that he is severely allergic to dogs but found that cavapoos were the only breed that didn't trigger his allergies. He also mentioned that his family had been grieving over the loss of their previous dog, and the new puppy was meant to bring some joy back into their lives.

“I’m only not allergic to cavapoos and those type of dogs and my mom’s f***ing dog, who’s two years old, died a week prior and we’re all so sad so I had to get a specific dog. So why don’t you do your research before you f***ing create news stories for people because you’re a boring tired [bleeped, unclear]. F*** you and s**k my d***!”
- Pete Davidson responds to PETA's criticisms

Davidson contended that PETA's public criticism added unnecessary pain to an already difficult situation. He argued that they should have done their research before making assumptions about his decision, emphasising that his family's well-being and specific circumstances led to their choice.


What PETA said

PETA responded to Davidson's voicemail by reiterating their stance on pet adoption. They claimed that there's no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog and pointed out that many purebred dogs can be found in shelters. They also mentioned online platforms like Petfinder, which list homeless dogs of various breeds, including the one Davidson purchased.

Some regret from Davidson

In a more recent interview, Davidson expressed some regret for his choice of words in the voicemail. He admitted that his remarks were a poor choice but remained unapologetic for defending his family. The actor emphasised the emotional toll the situation had taken on his loved ones, mentioning that he hadn't seen his mother and sister cry like that in over 20 years. Davidson felt that the store filming him without permission and PETA publicly shaming his family exacerbated their grieving process.


PETA is known for its strong advocacy and sometimes controversial tactics. While their mission to protect animal welfare is commendable, there have been instances where PETA's actions have been widely criticised for going too far. 

PETA and the many controversies

One notable incident involved PETA's "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign in 2003. The organisation set up exhibits comparing factory farming to the Holocaust, displaying images of concentration camp victims alongside images of animals in factory farms. This campaign sparked outrage among various groups, including Holocaust survivors and Jewish organisations. Critics argued that the comparison trivialised the atrocities of the Holocaust and diminished the significance of human suffering.

PETA also faced significant controversy when they launched a campaign in the early 1990s, following the notorious crimes committed by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The campaign sought to draw attention to the correlation between violence towards animals and violence towards humans and PETA even planned on converting Dahmer's childhood home into a vegan-themed restaurant.

Another controversial tactic employed by PETA was their "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign. PETA enlisted celebrities to pose nude with the slogan painted on their bodies to protest the fur industry. While the campaign aimed to raise awareness about animal cruelty in the fur trade, it faced backlash for using provocative and sexually explicit imagery. Critics argued that the campaign objectified women and undermined the seriousness of the issue at hand.

In 2003, the organisation created the "Got Autism?" campaign, which suggested a link between consuming dairy products and autism. This claim was not supported by scientific evidence and was widely criticised by medical professionals and autism advocacy groups. PETA's campaign caused distress to families affected by autism and perpetuated misinformation.

Furthermore, PETA has been involved in numerous instances of confrontational and disruptive behaviour. Their protests often involve sensationalist tactics, such as throwing fake blood on fur coats or storming fashion runways.

While aiming to draw attention to animal cruelty, these actions have been viewed as disruptive, disrespectful, and alienating to the public. PETA's confrontational approach has often overshadowed the intended message and resulted in negative perceptions of the organisation.

PETA's controversial stance on companion animal ownership has also drawn criticism. They have advocated for a complete ban on pet ownership, arguing that it is exploitative and that animals should be free to live in their natural habitats. This extreme view disregards the benefits and responsibilities of responsible pet ownership, including the bonds formed between humans and animals and the positive impact on mental health.

However, it is also important to acknowledge that PETA's campaigns and initiatives have contributed to positive changes in animal welfare, such as raising awareness about the fur industry, promoting veganism, and highlighting cruelty in various industries.

Last updated: June 07, 2023 | 17:10
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