Lisa Vanderpump has spoken out on the shock footage from the set of the film A Dog’s Purpose, calling the video “really upsetting.” The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star had previously signed on to be a spokesperson for the film and appear in an ad.
TMZ caught up with Vanderpump in Beverly Hills on Thursday to ask her about the footage. Vanderpump, who appeared in shock, admitted she had seen the video.
“I’ve seen it and I found it really upsetting.”
The reality star discussed her involvement in animal welfare through her organization, Vanderpump Dogs.
“I have spent the last two years of my life trying to advocate for the more humane treatment of dogs. So yes, I am in the commercial for this film and I have seen it and I don’t understand that. It breaks my heart, because as a nation we love our dogs. This is nothing compared to what I have seen in the torture of dogs.”
In response to questions regarding how she feels as an animal activist profiting from the film, Vanderpump explains she is planning to donate her earnings.
“I was paid to do the commercial for supporting this film and my check is going to the Vanderpump dog foundation.”
The behind-the-scenes footage released by TMZ on Wednesday shows what appears to be a trainer pushing a german shepherd, one of the several dogs used in the film, into a pool of turbulent water. The force of the water throws the dog around before it quickly becomes submerged, forcing the crew to yell “cut it.”
When approached by TMZ for comment, the production company behind A Dog’s Purpose, Amblin Entertainment, insisted that Hercules, the German shepherd used in the film, was “fine with doing the scene and was not thrown into the water.”
“He had several days of rehearsal for the water scenes to ensure he was comfortable performing the stunts. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.”
The production company spokesperson went on to highlight that the film is a “celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs” and that “in the spirit of this relationship, the production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals”.
A spokesperson from Universal stated that the studio is investigating the incident.
“Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”
Following the release of the footage, actor Josh Gad, who plays the voice of the German shepherd in the film has spoken out on Twitter, labeling the footage “disturbing.”
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) January 19, 2017
“While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment, I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will. I signed on to a film that truly stands out as one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen.”
In the wake of the video’s release, the American Humane Society, an organization responsible for ensuring the health and welfare of animals on film sets, has announced they are launching an investigation into the event. Animal activists PETA started a campaign to boycott the film, with the hash tag #BoycottADogsPurpose already trending on Twitter.
— PETA (@peta) January 19, 2017
While the investigation into the incident continues, Bravo executives are reportedly considering whether they should pull the commercial or risk being associated with the embattled film.
[Featured Image by Willy Sanjuan/AP Images]