James Cameron Slammed By PETA Over Avatar 2 Promotion

Director James Cameron is facing a backlash from the nonprofit organisation PETA over his Avatar 2 promotion.
Credit: 20th Century Studios & Alamy

Director James Cameron has been slammed by PETA over the promotion of Avatar: The Way of Water.

The original Avatar, which was released in 2009, is the highest-grossing film of all time.

The epic sci-fi picture made an astonishing $2.9 billion at the box office and starred Clash of the Titans star Sam Worthington and Avengers actress Zoe Saldana. 

Its sequel has taken more than a decade to make and just to break even, it will need to gross more than $2 billion.

While reviews of the film have varied wildly, the movie’s director, Cameron, is facing a backlash over a promotional stunt for the sequel.

Watch the official trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water below…

Last week, a premiere event took place in Tokyo and it was attended by 68-year-old Cameron, Worthington, 46, and co-star Sigourney Weaver, 73. 

The event involved captive dolphins performing tricks in a pool as orchestral music played through the speakers.

In a video from the event, Cameron tells the audience: “I’m sure everybody asked their permission to be in the show.

“I love these animals, I love their intelligence.”

Related Article: Related Article: Tim Burton Explains Why His Films Are Full Of White People As Wednesday Branded ‘Racist’

However, wildlife lovers have expressed their shock and anger over the spectacle, with some even threatening to boycott the movie.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a TikTok slamming the event and Cameron’s involvement, saying: “Avatar: The Way of Water is about living harmoniously with nature.

“So why is James Cameron launching it by watching exploited animals at a cruel marine park in Japan?

“This is the opposite of appreciating nature.

“Dolphins should NEVER be ridden, forced to perform or have their faces stood on.”

Related Article: Jonah Hill’s New Movie Gets 100% On Rotten Tomatoes And Fans Are Raving About It

Many people have taken to the comments and agreed with the nonprofit organisation, with one penning: “I really like the Avatar movie. 

“Kinda doesn’t make sense to go against its message.”

Another added: “I’m not going to watch it now, even though I was really looking forward to it!

“This is animal abuse and should not be allowed. Shame on the crew and cast.”

@officialpeta Seriously, James Cameron? No, no one asked the dolphin’s permission to be in the show. #AvatarTheWayOfWater ♬ original sound – PETA

While a third person commented: “This is so so disappointing. It’s like going against everything the movie stands for.”

However, some people took to the comments and defended Cameron, with one writing: “‘Asked their permission to be in the show’ is him not agreeing with this.”

“OK you guys are pushing it,” agreed another. 

This latter comment led to a reply from PETA which read: “We are pushing it?!

“More like, animals do NOT deserve to be exploited by human greed. They are not ours to use for entertainment.”

Related Article: Jim Carrey Says There’s One Film He Regrets Making

Another person said that it didn’t matter whether Cameron agreed with the use of dolphins or not.

They argued: “The fact y’all are defending him is disgusting.

“Regardless of if he was being ‘sarcastic’ at the end of it. He still stood by and let it happen.”

Later on, PETA went on to say that initially, they had believed the mammals were digitally produced as Cameron is vegan, and he creates movies with strong environmental messaging.

Lisa Lange, senior vice president of communications for PETA, said she thought ‘movie magic’ was being used, but soon realised the dolphins were actually real.

Related Article: Jennifer Lawrence Claims She Was The First Woman To Lead An Action Movie

She told Yahoo News: “To see James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington sitting there applauding was shocking.

“The trainers were treating those dolphins like circus clowns. They were riding on the noses of the dolphins, I mean, that’s as bad as it gets.”

Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar director James Cameron has been slammed over a promotional display that included captive dolphins. Credit: 20th Century Fox

The World Animal Protection group said the stunt was ‘confoundingly out of step’ with Cameron’s reputation.

The animal rights organisation wrote on Twitter: “Captive dolphins are confined to a tiny, barren, artificial environment 200 thousand times smaller than their natural habitat.

“They endure severe suffering and distress and live much shorter lives on average than their wild counterparts.”

Activist Bailey Mason said: “I would love to see James Cameron pledge to never attend a dolphin show ever again and to denounce the cruel capture and slaughter of dolphins happening in Taiji.”

Watch our Video of the Day below… 

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.