W. Bruce Cameron, the author of “A Dog’s Purpose,” is speaking out in the wake of public backlash following TMZ’s leaked behind-the-scenes footage which appears to show a distressed German shepherd being forced into churning water.
The footage which TMZ released appears to have been heavily edited and Cameron has released an official statement addressing the timing, and the editing, of the leaked video.
Cameron statement states:
First I want to thank everyone—and there have been literally thousands of you—who have written to express support. Your words and thoughts mean the world to us.
I found the video we’ve all seen to be shocking because when I was on set, the ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs.
If the people who shot and edited the video thought something was wrong, why did they wait fifteen months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?
I have since viewed footage taken of the day in question, when I wasn’t there, and it paints an entirely different picture.
The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened.
The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water—I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked.
The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay—the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot.
I also didn’t like it when Hercules’s head briefly went under water, but there was a scuba diver and a trainer in the pool to protect him. He loves the water, wasn’t in danger, and wasn’t upset.
He concluded his statement:
On a movie where the mantra was the safety and comfort of the dogs, mistakes were made, and everything needs to be done to make sure those errors are not repeated.
But the reason American Humane certifies that no animals were harmed during the making of the film is that no animals were harmed during the making of the film.
I celebrate animal rescue and am proud of the values that show up in A Dog’s Purpose. – Bruce
Critics of TMZ’s release of the edited footage point first and foremost to the timing – 15 months after the incident took place, and shortly before the movie’s premiere (which was cancelled because of the turmoil surrounding the video footage). PETA has been calling for a boycott of the movie and there is speculation that the organization is using the leaked (and edited) footage to push their agenda to ensure that animals are not used for movies or for television productions.
According to Deadline, after the full investigation into the situation has been completed, the unedited video of the situation will likely be released to the public.