Katy Perry is under fire for a joke made about koalas in an ad with an Australian department store chain to promote her upcoming tour.
BBC noted that Perry partnered with the retailer Myer for a promotion to give away tickets for her Witness tour. While the promo seemed like a nice thing to do for fans, a comment she made during the advertisement about her dog and koalas really rubbed people the wrong way and drew the ire of Australian animal activists.
In the commercial Perry is featured alongside her dog, a teacup poodle named Nugget. The remark that pretty much offended an entire continent is the last line of the video where the singer tells her pup, “Let’s go chase some koalas, Nugget!”
The joke fell flat because many koalas are actually attacked and killed by dogs in Australia every year. The Courier Mail reported that more than 100 koalas die from dog attacks each year in the state of Queensland alone. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, a koala’s internal organs are especially vulnerable to dog bites. Because of such statistics, animal activists called the campaign ad “disgusting,” and wildlife veterinarian Claire Madden stated that she was “sickened” by it.
“This is just absolute ignorance from Perry and Myer and inappropriate on so many levels,” Madden said. “Perry is a role model to so many young people, and this just destroys all the good work we do to try to encourage people not to let their dogs come into contact with koalas.”
Following the backlash, Myer, which is Australia’s largest department store, decided to alter the original ad.
A spokesperson for the the retail giant said, “We are aware of comments about Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour advertisement and a particular reference made to koalas. We are currently removing the material which references koalas.”
Perry’s last line was changed to “Okay Nugget, it’s time to get your puppy passport!”
The new video can be viewed below.
This isn’t the first time the “Chained To The Rhythm” artist has caused controversy with animal rights groups. In 2013, PETA slammed the pop star for using animals in her “Roar” music video saying that the wildlife could have been traumatized by the filming done outside of their habitat. Perry responded to the group with a statement letting activists know that she had representatives on the set every day of the shoot and all appropriate guidelines were followed so that none of the animals were harmed.
So far, she has not commented on the koala remark or the decision to remove the line.
[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP Photo]