Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema have released a strongly worded statement denying recent accusations that many animals were abused during production of the films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The statement pointedly notes that the “primary source of these new allegations can be traced to freelance animal wranglers who were dismissed by the production over a year ago for cause.” (Warner Bros. and New Line, like Entertainment Weekly, are owned by Time Warner.)
On Monday, director Peter Jackson issued his own statement, along with the rest of The Hobbit‘s producers, rejecting the accusations. It also noted that the wranglers in question were “dismissed from the film over a year ago.”
Read the full statement below:
Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema join Peter Jackson and the producers of The Hobbit in vigorously refuting and condemning accusations of animal abuse on the films. The production acted swiftly and responsibly in addressing any incidents involving animals in its care throughout the long filming process, and in fact, measures were taken to protect all farm animals, including those uninvolved with the films.
We question the timing of this misinformation — given The Hobbit‘s imminent release — and have no recourse other than to reveal that the primary source of these new allegations can be traced to freelance animal wranglers who were dismissed by the production over a year ago for cause. We are immensely proud of our association with Sir Peter Jackson, his dedicated film crew and the people of New Zealand.
by Adam B. Vary