A petting zoo in Russia claims to be suing an advertising agency that used their raccoon Thomas to film an “erotic” television advert.
Last August, the Teatr Zoo in Moscow, Russia, rented Thomas out to the advertising company Art-Msk.
They’ve since said in an Instagram post that they weren’t warned about the nature of the video, which featured a semi-naked model holding Thomas while sitting on a hotel bed.
Teatr Zoo said they only became aware of this after seeing photos from the shoot shared online last August.
The zoo is claiming that Thomas returned from the shoot a changed raccoon.
“We noticed he was attracted to women’s breasts,” spokesperson Viktor Kiryukhin told the BBC.
“It took two to three months to change his behaviour. Now he is happy again… but he was sad before.”
Teatr Zoo shared a series of Instagram posts last week explaining that they’d demanded Art-msk take the material offline, abandon the idea of the video and tell them the name of their customer.
“The management of the zoo considers the use of a raccoon in erotic video advertising unethical,” they wrote.
They went on to share two more posts explaining that they have filed a claim against the agency for using the raccoon in an erotic video without their knowledge.
Все готово мы выезжает в суд подавать иск на студию видео рекламы “Atr-msk”! Вся информация по иску в предыдущей публикации.👇 #енот, #енотполоскун, #съемки, #реклама, #студиярекламы, #видеореклама, #звездныеживотные, #мероприятия, #выезднойзоопарк, #зверюшкинеигрушки, #зоопарк, #контактныйзоопарк, #дети, #детям, #развитиеребенка, #трогательныйзоопарк, #интересноевмоскве, #atrmsk, #скандал, #raccon, #праваживотных, #видеореклама, #реклама, #суд
Исковое заявление по использованию студией видеорекламы “Art-msk” нашего енота Томаса в сьемках рекламного видеоролика эротического содержания, без нашего ведома, подано в суд! Подробности в предыдущих публикациях! Следите за продолжением по хэштегам: #мимимитинг #енотыпротив #енотыпротиввидео Будьте в курсе событий!😉 #енот, #енотполоскун, #съемки, #реклама, #студиярекламы, #видеореклама, #звездныеживотные, #мероприятия, #выезднойзоопарк, #зверюшкинеигрушки, #зоопарк, #контактныйзоопарк, #дети, #детям, #развитиеребенка, #трогательныйзоопарк, #интересноевмоскве, #atrmsk, #скандал, #raccon, #праваживотных, #видеореклама, #реклама, #суд
In response, the agency has shared the following statement on their website:
“March 15 authoritative Russian and world mass media appeared information that the petting zoo ‘Animals are not toys!’ has filed a lawsuit against the Studio.
We learned that petting zoo sued us in court from calling us channel Life News. When before representatives of the zoo came to visit us in the Studio a month ago and filed a Claim – we took it as a joke. The Claim stated that: “removing raccoon in the video we did harm populations of raccoons”. We believe that this situation is absurd, worthy of a Hollywood script, a Comedy. Please consider this the official position of our Studio.
If we fail to resolve the conflict with a petting zoo amicable agreement – we intend to submit to the court a counter-suit. In it we will claim compensation of our bra of the actress, who gnawed raccoon on the set. Our Studio had to compensate him the cost of shooting the girl in excess of the fee for filming in promotional video.
Head of video distribution Studio of video ART-MSK”
Last Thursday, Art-msk shared the following behind-the-scenes video of the shoot on their YouTube channel, which shows the actress trying to wrestle her bra from the raccoon.
It’s worth noting at this point that this whole situation could be nothing more than a cleverly-manufactured marketing stunt.
On the one hand the zoo has shared official-looking documentation and a video that appears to show animal rights’ activists, and the statement from the agency appears to be genuine.
But on the other hand, the exact nature of the advert remains unclear, and both the zoo and the agency are clearly benefitting from the now-global publicity surrounding the story.
The video above proves that a raccoon did indeed take part in some sort of film shoot with a semi-naked model — but the exact nature of the shoot, and its purpose, remains something of a mystery.