Zac Efron is in trouble after filming a video with a bear. An odd sentence that is a result of an even odder promotional campaign that sees the former High School Musical star pour his heart and soul out on a park bench next to a big grizzly bear. MovieWeb reports that animal welfare organization PETA has slammed the actor for the promotional ad. The ad in its peculiar entirety can be seen below.
The video sees Zac Efron humorously engages in one-sided small talk with the grizzly bear before pouring his heart out emotionally, captioned; “Oh, hey there, bear! 6.14.22 Any guesses?” PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released a statement criticizing Efron for the promotional ad; “It’s hypocritical to exploit one animal to potentially help another. No true conservation group would ever force captive animals to perform tricks for the camera in order to raise awareness about their wild counterparts” (via TMZ).
Is Zac Efron a hypocrite? Perhaps he is, as PETA pointed out that using a captive animal to raise awareness for free animals isn’t entirely ethical. PETA is referring to Zac Efron becoming the chief brand officer and a company shareholder of Kodiak Cakes, a Utah-based food company offering whole-grain food products. The ad was used to tease his partnership with Kodiak Cakes. Since his Instagram ad with the captive grizzly bear, Zac Efron has posted an Instagram promo with Kodiak Cakes merchandise, where all proceeds will go to preserving Grizzly Bear and wildlife habitats. Herein lies the reason that PETA has accused Efron of hypocrisy.
Zac Efron has previously experimented with a Vegan diet and had credited it to his supreme physical condition, which is evident in films such as Baywatch, so it is true that the actor has incorporated animal welfare and ethical considerations into his thought process in the past. The promo campaign alongside Kodiak Cakes generating proceeds for preserving wild grizzly bear habitats is also further indicating that Efron considers the well-being of animals. It would appear then, that his comical skit with the captive bear is an anomalous misstep for the actor and while it may have been done with the best intentions, PETA certainly doesn’t see it that way.
Grizzly Bears aside, Zac Efron is busy with his acting career. The star has been rumored to be vying for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past, but despite no further news regarding the MCU, he is set to star in future projects such as The Greatest Beer Run Ever. Directed by Peter Farrelly (Green Book), the film stars Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, and Bill Murray and follows a New York native in 1967, going on a journey to bring beer to his childhood friends fighting in the Vietnam war. The film is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, in September. As well as this, Efron is starring in a reboot of Three Men and a Baby and will exec produce and star in Killing Zac Efron, a series that will drop the actor into the jungle of a remote island for an expedition. Will Zac Efron respond to PETA’s statement regarding his promotional ad with the captive grizzly, or will his latter efforts to raise funds for wild grizzly reserves to work in his favor? Only time will tell.