Gallagher had watermelons and Richard Pryor had cigarettes, but recently Mike Epps brought out the most bizarre “prop” of all and is catching a lot of heat for it.
PETA has now called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the treatment of a kangaroo that was brought on stage during the Festival of Laughs tour stop in Detroit Friday (March 31). The video of Epps and what seemed to be a flustered marsupial caught the attention of animal rights activists who believed the comedian along animal handler Javon Stacks placed the animal in harms way. The reason behind the animal’s appearance can be directed to the viral video of Stacks attempting to get a hold of Darwin, a kangaroo he was caring for during a party for his mobile company, Exotic Zoo. The tweet caught the attention of many with Darwin visiting local radio and TV stations, but not an event venue.
“Traumatic situations can be fatal to kangaroos who are not hardy animals, and this individual was subjected to a great deal of stress by being dragged in front of a boisterous crowd and forced to ‘dance,'” PETA senior vp Lisa Lange said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter Monday (April 3). “PETA hopes the U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct an immediate investigation and that the backlash over this stunt will remind all comedians that there’s nothing funny about cruelty to animals.”
Shame on you Mike Epps! Animals are NOT entertainment! ??@theshaderoom #MikeEpps in #Detroit last night.?@WorldAnimalNews @Peace_4_Animals pic.twitter.com/QOhhWNQnoA
— World Animal News (@WorldAnimalNews) April 2, 2017
As it turns out the Department of Agriculture has viewed the video, with a rep stating to TMZ that the Animal Welfare Act requires the handler to be “in control of the animal at all times.” After catching heat for the stunt, the comedian took to social media to share footage of himself with the original kangaroo to show his genuine intentions. He also shared he would make a donation to Viva, a kangaroo preservation.
PETA has yet to comment on Epps’ donation.