Last week People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued talk show host and actress Rosie O’Donnell for defamation after O’Donnell claimed PETA endorses the use of some leather products.
PETA and O’Donnell became entangled after O’Donnell decided to proclaim a “wear leather day” on her show. Many animal rights activists and groups, including PETA, decided to go after O’Donnell, declaring “wear leather day” as promoting cruelty to animals.
On a recent episode O’Donnell told her talks how audience that The Gap used leather approved by PETA. According to PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange, “There’s no such thing as PETA-approved leather,” and PETA announced a lawsuit seeking an on-air retraction of O’Donnell’s statement as well as $350,000 in damages.
The only problem is that O’Donnell is absolutely right — The Gap does use PETA-approved leather and the lawsuit is completely frivolous.
Earlier in the year PETA launched a campaign to convince The Gap to stop using leather obtained from China and India. PETA argued quite vociferously that animals killed for leather in China and India are treated cruelly, and that it would be better for The Gap to buy leather from countries with higher animal welfare standards.
When The Gap caved in to PETA’s demands, the organization trumpeted its great victory. Now, however, PETA wants to run away from this victory when O’Donnell correct points out that The Gap uses PETA-approved leather.
The bottom line is that this lawsuit is simply just another publicity stunt from a group that excels at such stunts.
Animal rights group sues O’Donnell. The Associated Press, December 6, 2000.