Beyoncé is one controversial superstar who hasn’t said a word to defend herself. The pop princess came under unexpected fire from the animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) last Wednesday (June 14, 2006) at a dinner in New York City. The dinner meeting was auctioned off on eBay and intended to be a meeting between Beyoncé and a fan. Unfortunately for the fur-loving singer with her own clothing line, PETA placed the winning bid on eBay.
Footage of the uncomfortable encounter can be found on the http://www.tmz.com web site, proof that activism is hard work. Several members of PETA turned up to meet the star over dinner. Eventually the conversation turned to the use of fur. “You’re so beautiful and talented, you don’t need to wear fur,” said one girl, trying desperately to keep her tone friendly. Barely speaking, Beyoncé let her entourage deal with the situation when it became clear that these individuals were not fans as expected. Un-phased, the PETA members tried to show an apparently uninterested Beyoncé a video documentary of fur-industry related animal cruelty. Failing in their attempt, the PETA members were eventually thrown out of the restaurant.
Now, I enjoy this sort of news. I think real activism is a positive thing. After all, Beyoncé is portraying a certain image to millions of people and has apparently completely ignored previous letters from PETA urging her to “do the decent, humane thing and stop wearing fur” (PETA 2004). The usual sob story doesn’t seem to work on her. The referenced letter from PETA to Beyoncé featured the photograph of a pet dog named Jasmine lying dead with her head caught in a bear trap. The letter explained that the dog’s teenage owner found her in the trap and watched her die. When the letter-writing tactic failed, PETA decided to get up close and personal with a personal meeting. You’ve got to admire the bravery of those so-called fans.
Being controversial is never easy, it must be said, but even people with strong moral fibre find it difficult to confront opposition so openly. Dining out with a pop star that you know you are deceiving for the sake of what is, in essence, propaganda, must be gut-wrenching. No wonder they turned up in a team. However, despite this courageous attempt to turn Beyoncé’s head around on the issue of fur use, the singer has yet to issue a statement or even comment. She was last seen staring silently into her soup.
PETA (2004). Dear Beyoncé [letter]. Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/feat/beyonce/beyonce300.pdf
PETA (2006). Beyoncé gets served on fur. Retrieved from http://www.furisdead.com/feat-beyoncedinner.asp
TMZ staff (2006, June 15). Beyoncé ambushed by PETA at Nobu. TMZ.com. Retrieved from http://www.tmz.com/2006/06/15/beyonce-ambushed-by-peta-at-nobu/