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In response to PETA’s recent campaign against the treatment of animals by KFC Adam Yauch wrote the following letter which can be accessed at beastieboys.com

“Wow, Shit gets hectic quick. Sign a petition in an airport and next thing you know you’re a poster-boy. This shit needs some straightening out.

For the record, we did not draft this letter. Basically it went down like this; a lady was walking around an airport in Australia asking people to sign something. When she approached me I thought (and I assume that Adam and Mike did as well) that it was a petition that she was getting as many signatures on as she could. So I signed it thinking that I might be able to help out with stopping some unnecessary suffering of some birds. But I thought that my name would appear in conjunction with thousands of others.

By the look of the letter that PETA sent out, they must have scanned our signatures, photo shopped them neatly in order and then added our names typed in, so that it would look like we drafted and sent the letter ourselves.

And from all the news hits they got on this, they must have sent it out to every news outlet they could get a hold of.

The strangest part of it is that the press just printed it without checking in to see if we really wrote or sent the letter.

I’m sure PETA is well intentioned, but seriously, what the fuck? Pull your shit together. If we want to draft an open letter to someone and send it out to the media we’ll do it ourselves.”


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  • Jon

    When it comes to PETA I look at them like my high school football coach. Listen to “what they are saying” and not “how they are saying it”. Ad Rock should have made a point of mentioning yeah it was a misrepresentation but now that we’ve seen the tapes (if they took the time to) we actually do support the attacks on KFC. Is being misrepresented in the news a new thing? Or actually the norm? Say what you want about PETA’s practices, which have chilled out by the way, but you know their name and again listen to what they are saying and showing you and not how they are saying it. They come up with footage that no one else seems to.

  • Paul

    Listen.. these are fast times at ridgemont high… but fuck…we’re in college now.. and do you know what they have in college? PADDLES

    point and case.. if you were a national corperation whos sales were souly powered by buckets of deep fried chicken and you have to compete with mcdonalds and wendys and burglar king, wouldnt you just toss your sales product in vats of boiling liquid to kill them at an efficent rate?! damn fucking right you would..ofcoarse KFC is corrupt..but congratulations! you can put that name in a bin full of other corrupt corperation in the u.s.

    PETA’s heart is in the right place.. but its shinanagins makes it lose all its indie street cred..the only way the kfc machine will be stopped is if somehow the drugs they’re pumping those chickens with some how mutates them to make them super smart and they take over the world after an apocolyptic war between chicken and man. but im sure well find i way to bicker about that too..

    final thought : i just stopped eating meat..then i dont have to think about the killing of…except for hotdogs.. but those arnt really meat anymway…

  • PETA does a great job of making themselves look bad, Katie. Were I a member, I’d be ashamed of their antics and embarassed to be a member.

    As it is, thanks to your comment bringing this issue back to the front of Blogcritics, I am once again hungry for another bucket of the Colonel’s extra crispy. KFC should thank you – and PETA – for giving them so much publicity. Damn, I am hungry! Extra crispy, here I come!

  • Katie

    PETA hasn’t done anything wrong. The petition you sign IS A LETTER! Even when you sign their petitions on line, if you scroll down to the bottom it Shows you the letter that they are putting your name on. Im aggravated with the Beasties for this because its making PETA look bad for NO reason and their work is important in our country

  • Todd

    When I called PETA about it they said they just posted something on their web site bout the KFC petition/letter and that the media took that and ran with it.

    Yauch is wrong, peta didn’t send it out to the press.

  • Super…This is realy nice chat .I missed it but.Thanks for script.

  • sydney

    it’s a good point allen, but your assuming that the beasties have withdrawn their support for the cause.

    All they’ve said is that they ddn’t want to be given the responisbility of being the public spokespersons for PETA. They still acknowledge that animals should be treated humanly.

    Audiences are fickle with shit like taht and public entertainers have to be carefull with how political they get or they can ruin thier careers or at least hamper them. It’s nto PETA’s position to make a career move for the beasties.

    Anyway it’s not a huge deal in any case. Both parties get my support, i suppose.

  • Allen

    Tom, I disagree that PETA has done anything wrong here. They did not fabricate a letter after the fact. The Beastie Boys signed a letter in a petition along with a bunch of other people. All PETA did was remove the other people before going public with the fact that the Beastie Boys signed a petition against KFC.

    Although I don’t think the ends justify any means, I do think that there are cases when extreme action, even “illegal” action is necessary. For instance, do you hold anything against the abolitionists who broke the law to free black slaves and take them to the North via the underground railroad? Do you think that the Polish resistance was wrong for blowing up Nazi concentration camp gas chambers?

    Unlike groups like the Animal Liberation Front, PETA does not engage in illegal activity. If they did, the authorities would know right where to find them because they put their address right there on their website. But groups that throw paint on people wearing fur, or that torch animal testing labs are no different than the people who broke the law to do what is right in the past. And I personally don’t have a problem with that.

    I do have a problem with people who would sign a petition one day and then try to say that they didn’t know what they were signing the next day. I also have a problem with people who think that just because some groups, like PETA, may do some crazy stunts that it negates the overall message that no animals should be treated the way that KFC treats chickens. And if the Beastie Boys had any sense, they would realize that and be proud that they spoke out against the cruel shit that KFC does.

  • Allen, you need to think a little deeper about this: the Beastie Boys are a recognizable, attention-garnering name. Their name carries weight to fans of the band, and PETA has misused their names by fabricating this letter, claiming that the band is behind its creation. PETA can mention that the Beastie Boys signed their petition. They can say something along the lines of “well-known rap group The Beastie Boys stand behind our petition.” What they cannot do is fabricate a letter, scan their signatures, and Photoshop them onto the letter in an effort to look like the band themselves drew it up. You don’t seem to grasp the implications of what can happen when a “celebrity” entity such as the Beastie Boys do not stand up when their name is being misused. By your logic, it’s perfectly legal for, say, Toyota to use the Beastie Boys’ likenesses in their ads if they happened to have bought a Toyota. Or Right Guard to use them in a commercial because they found out they bought Right Guard. You should look into why Billy Joel trademarked his name.

    What PETA is doing is fraudulent and misleading. Does this not strike you as dishonest? Or are you one of those who say the end justifies the means? Because that’s exactly the kind of thinking that PETA follows. It’s so ironic that an organization that attempts to stop people doing things they perceive as “immoral and wrong” does so by using tactics that are also immoral and wrong. Until PETA stops pulling crap like this, they’re a joke to me and a whole lot of other people.

  • Allen

    I think that by signing the petition that was attached to the letter in the first place the Beastie Boys were legally granting PETA the right to say that the Beastie Boys signed a letter against KFC. PETA has every right to single out the high-profile names on the petition if they choose to do that. The Beastie Boys lose all integrity in my book when they start to bitch that they didn’t realize that by signing the petition that they would be singled out.

    The fact remains that the Beastie Boys signed a letter, along with however many non-high-profile people against KFC’s cruel treatment of chickens. They are totally being pussys for trying to back out now. And the worst part is that now people are going to start thinking that somehow it is cool to support KFC because the Beastie Boys were fuckin’ stupid and didn’t think about what they were doing. They should have just left it alone and realized that they were doing the right thing in condemning the sickening shit that KFC does to nearly a billion chickens every single year.

    I mean, let’s have a little perspective on who is being more harmed here. The Beastie Boys had their little pussy feelings hurt for PETA singling them out on a petition that they admit to signing, or the millions of animals who are being forced to endure a lifetime of fuckin’ misery before being scalded alive in feather removal tanks.

  • OK, great to find a follow-up review. Wondered how it had all panned out. Integrity has a way of winning out everytime…

  • Not sure how I feel about all that; PETA was in the wrong but but sue PETA and you’re taking money away from an organization you support (meaning the Beasties re: this particual KFC issue)

    On the other hand, they could win the case and hand the money over to a better org.

  • Allen: PETA’s arguments about KFC are sound, but their tactics for making their arguments public are distasteful, dishonest, and destructive. The Beastie’s aren’t being “big pussies” – they’re defending their right to protect their names. PETA was dishonest about what they claimed was an endorsement by the Beastie Boys. That’s reprehensible, and hopefully the band will take some court action against the group. PETA seems to forget that using illegal means to get a good message out doesn’t make it okay. They apparently are going to have to learn this the hard way. I liken PETA to those freaks who go around destroying houses in areas they don’t think houses should be built, or the people who destroyed all those SUVs. You’re not going to win over any supporters by taking the extremist route.

    I’m off to pick up another bucket of extra-crispy.

  • thejuryisout

    Whether people agree with PETA or their campaigns is beside the point. The boys’ original intent of asking KFC to improve the welfare of their chickens is what matters. Also, just because they happen to agree with PETA on this one thing doesn’t mean they agree on everything. Charlize Theron made an anti-fur ad, but that doesn’t mean she’s suddenly vegan.

    I did some checking on various PETA sites and I think if you watch the undercover video of the crap done to chickens slaughtered for KFC, people will see why the boys were cool with signing a petition against it.

  • Damn right. There’s a lot wrong with Michael Moore’s tactics too… but it’s better than nobody doing nothing.

    KFC *IS* corrupt.

    Nuff said.

  • Todd

    KFC is corrupt
    PETA’s doing something about it
    what’s the problem?

    I’m glad PETA is doing what they were doing b/c who the fuck would do it otherwise?

  • There is NOTHING mindless about ACT-Up. Much thought and consideration goes into those very complicated sorts of direct actions, which are *full* of meaning. Not everyone appreciates street theater — fine. But denigrating those of us who champion its use or dismissing our intelligence is unfair. Frankly, that comment shows how mindless the opposition can be.

    I agree, as said previously, with many of the criticisms of PETA. I don’t approve of destroying other people’s property (fur coats, for instance). I don’t approve of using someone’s name/likeness/etc. without their express permission. PETA would do itself a huge favor by stopping those practices and by encouraging its members to be responsible and respectable in their direct actions.

    BUT. Street theater, the method often used by PETA, ACT-Up, Soulforce, and a host of other activist organizations, has its purposes and benefits — not the least among them, making the “conformists” and “go-along-to-get-along” types on our side suddenly look more appealing to the “enemy.” Allen mentions a great purpose of it too. Ultimately, one has to be true to oneself, though. If someone doesn’t like the way I look or act, well, that is their problem isn’t it?

    One thing, though, Allen. I get what you are saying re: the Beasties, but this is where integrity comes into play. The group probably would have had no problem with it *if* PETA had come to them directly and asked. The way PETA went about using their signatures was dishonest. Can I say that, say, Dan Fogelberg endorses the anti-KFC campaign because I know that he publicly has supported protections for wildlife and animals in the past? Of course not — that would be immoral. You have to do things the right way, the honest way. Character counts, especially for do-gooders.

  • Allen

    I think PETA is pretty smart to use attention grabbing stunts to get people’s attention. I mean, if you try to tell someone that KFC is chopping the beaks of of baby chickens, or pumping them so full of drugs and breeding them to grow so fast, so quick, that they literally cripple under their own weight, people don’t seem to want to pay attention. But as soon as some PETA people go out and pull some crazy stunt then everyone in the world hears about it and also hears about what is happening to animals on factory farms too. I checked out PETA’s website and they have a lot of crazy shit on there, but when you look at what is ahppening to animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. . . Now that’s some crazy shit.

    I’m a big Beastie Boys fan, but come on. . . would it have hurt them to just come out and say that KFC sucks without having to be such big pussies and hope for anonimity in a petition. If they really care about stopping the fucked up things that KFC is doing then they shouldn’t have a problem supporting PETA’s efforts.

  • Eric Olsen

    you contain the multitudes, master of masonry!

    I would rearrange the order and leave out PETA


    Love PETA
    Love the Beasties
    Love Chicken

  • Eric Olsen

    I heard Greeenpeace was going to start clubbing baby seals with PETA members

  • Note to self: pick up a bucket of extra-crispy on the way home tonight.

  • I find PETA way more amusing than ActUp. They’re alwasy pulling silly stunts that make them look like absolute nutcases and discredit the very cause they’re trying to promote. Their mindless extremism makes them the easy butt of jokes. They’re even funnier than Greenpeace.


  • Eric Olsen

    good point: PETA is like ActUp

  • Natalie,

    I think the case against KFC is solid and I agree with the goals of the campaign.

    But I really do think PETA does more harm than good because of the way they act. If there was an organization that used the same facts and information, worked toward some of the same goals, and had the same kind of support, but while conducting themselves in a respectful manner–I think that would be a very effective organization. That’s one of the things that upsets me about PETA. They could do so much more if they would just pull their act together, stop acting immature and being so inflammatory and didn’t piss on the people who support their cause, like the Beastie Boys.

  • Eric Olsen

    pretty chickenshit move, I’d say

  • It’s about integrity here. I am in PETA’s corner in exposing the cruelty done to chickens by KFC. But would it have killed the organization to be honest and upfront with the Beastie Boys? Would it have killed them to get the trio’s express permission to publish a letter with their signatures?

    Still, I would not call PETA worthless at all. There is no reason why someone can’t support both PETA and the Humane Society.

  • Well, I’ve had my long-winded say on my blog, but I will comment that I think PETA does more harm to their causes than they do good. They act in ridiculous manners and it just hurts what they’re trying to do. I support many of their aims, but the organization itself seems to be more interested in getting press and generating controversy than actually creating change. Therefore, they are essentially worthless, in my opinion.

    You want an organization that is actually effective in helping reduce animal cruelty? Try the Humane Society of the US. They’re nowhere near as flashy as PETA, but they actually get results.

  • I just watched a couple videos at http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com. This stuff is pretty horrific and PETA’s asking for some pretty basic changes, like chickens not being scalded alive and not having their beaks cut off. PETA’s doing some good work here and I think it’s great that the Beastie Boys signed the letter, even if there was some confusion about what PETA was gonna do with it.

    Here’s a good video narrated by the Rev. Al Sharpton: http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=sharpton_long.

    And here’s info from an investigation in West Virginia: http://www.peta.org/feat/moorefield/.

    Everyone should watch those videos.

  • i agree 100%

  • PETA is well-intentioned. I enthusiastically support some of its positions and endeavors. But some of their tactics give me a great deal of pause. What Ad-Rock recounts is but one of them.