The Jackass franchise has taken quite a toll on the stuntmen involved in making it. After more than 20 years of breaking bones, losing teeth, and getting hit in the stones, Johnny Knoxville and the gang are finally ready to throw in the towel. Jackass Forever is set to be the finale of the Jackass film series, as well as the careers of the principal cast. However, while much has been said about how badly the humans have been injured during production of Jackass Forever, PETA is concerned about the animals on set.
‘Jackass Forever’ is the final ‘Jackass’ film
As stated before, Jackass Forever is intended to be the swan song for the Jackass franchise. With the cast of stuntmen having reached middle age, they’re all simply too old and beat up to keep doing things like this forever.
“I feel like I’ve been extremely lucky to take the chances I’ve taken and still be walking around,” Knoxville said in a recent GQ interview. While reminiscing about his career, he mentioned that he never put much thought into eventually growing old, but has come to terms with it and the end of his beloved series. If anything, he seems quite content, ready to go out with the biggest bang imaginable.
Jackass Forever is more than just a sendoff, though. In 2011, fellow Jackass performer Ryan Dunn died in a car accident, making this film the first in the main series where he won’t be appearing. According to IMDb, the movie is partly a tribute to the gang’s fallen friend, as it was intended to be released 10 years after the accident (it’s since been moved back to 2022 due to the pandemic).
PETA has welfare concerns for animals in ‘Jackass Forever’
Infamous animal rights group PETA released a statement calling for certain scenes to be removed from Jackass Forever. In their message, they highlight scenes involving “provoking a snake and a bull to the point of attack, treating a tarantula like a game piece, and coercing a chained bear to eat honey off a bound participant.” They say that these stunts risk normalizing cruelty to animals.
It’s worth pointing out that the group’s concerns specifically don’t accuse the production of harming the animals themselves – mainly because, as far as anyone can tell, they haven’t been. Despite how much suffering the people making the show have endured, the crew has always made it a point not to hurt any of the creatures used in stunts or pranks. For many of the past films, the AHA were there to monitor the events. While certain stunts did push boundaries, they noted that they did not break them.
Additionally, Steve-O himself is a vegan and animal rights activist, even going so far as to be arrested in 2015 after protesting SeaWorld’s allegedly inhumane treatment of its whales. Considering all of this, the animals might surprisingly be the safest things on set during the average Jackass shoot.
It’s unlikely the criticism will have any effect on the final film
This is far from Jackass‘ first rodeo with regards to criticism. Throughout its original airing and every subsequent movie, various groups have attacked the production. Though this criticism was usually focused around the potential for viewers to imitate what the crew did and become injured, animal welfare concerns were also among them.
Despite this, the production has continued to chug along without much concern. While certain stunts have been taken out of subsequent releases of material, they’re mostly related to things like personal preference, a change in plans, or simply being lost to time due to digital decay. Virtually nothing has ever been removed from the Jackass TV show or films because of outrage.
With that in mind, it’s a safe bet that any and all animal-related antics (aside from an instance involving snakes and cut cast member Bam Margera, which was referenced in a Cameo to YouTuber C.J Halliday) will make it into the finished movie, for better or worse.
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