Brooklyn, New York, Auto Dealership Pulls Chimpanzee Commercial

Plaza Auto Mall pulled its “Trunk Monkey” commercial, featuring a live chimpanzee, after hearing from PETA and local residents about the cruelty inherent in training young great apes to perform for ads. The dealership stated, “Once we first heard of the possibility of the cruelty happening, we immediately discontinued all advertising.”

Source: PETA

Plaza Auto Mall Changes Tune After Learning Great Apes Are Beaten Into Performing

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2005
Contact: Amy Rhodes 757-622-7382

Brooklyn, N.Y. — After Plaza Auto Mall’s controversial “Trunk Monkey” commercial featuring a chimpanzee who is portrayed as rescuing a beleaguered driver caused public outcry and a response from PETA, the car dealership pulled the ad off the air. PETA will be awarding the dealership its “Compassionate Advertiser Award.”

PETA contacted auto dealer John Rossati after receiving complaints about his commercial from local viewers. Informing him about the cruel methods used in training great apes, PETA also reported that Honda, PUMA, and Keds recently pulled their commercials featuring great apes and that Men’s Wearhouse had pledged to never use great apes in ads. Furniture chain HomeUSA Warehouse and New Jersey auto dealership Malouf Ford pulled their entire ad campaigns featuring a chimpanzee and an orangutan, respectively, after corresponding with PETA.

A primatologist working undercover for a California facility that trains great apes for the TV and film industries witnessed trainers kicking, punching, and beating chimpanzees into submission. The orangutans and chimpanzees seen on TV are traumatically taken from their mothers. By the time they reach young adulthood, they are too powerful to be used and are often discarded at substandard roadside zoos or warehoused. The Jane Goodall Institute and the American Zoo & Aquarium Association recognize the unavoidable problems of using great apes for entertainment.

Plaza Auto Mall thanked PETA, saying, “Once we first heard of the possibility of the cruelty happening, we immediately discontinued all advertising.” Says PETA Director Debbie Leahy, “Plaza Auto Mall is sending a positive message that will resonate well beyond the Brooklyn community. These intelligent, social, and sensitive animals don’t deserve to be treated like punching bags by trainers.”

For more information, visit A copy of PETA’s letter to John Rossati is available upon request.

Things I learned at Maine Forest Rally 2005

Trunkmonkey Racing completed Maine Forest Rally the last weekend in July and as my first stage rally I learned quite a few new and interesting tidbits of information. The following is a brief overview:

  1. The navigator is always right (stupid driver).
  2. When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.
  3. When the navigator yells “What the **** are you doing?!?! I said DON’T enter the control!”, shrug it off and refer to Rule #1.
  4. Rally school and past Rallycross experience promotes reflex. When you’re all of a sudden pointed at the woods at 75 MPH you don’t feel any adrenaline…you just countersteer and continue driving like nothing happened.
  5. Mini sledgehammers are a toolkit requirement to fix bent wheels on stage.
  6. Carry LOTS of water in the car for hydration at stage start and stage finish between service stops.
  7. Driving suits have a bottom zipper to assist in Driver and Co-Driver relief. It took us until SS5 to figure that out.
  8. Falken gravel tires have really soft sidewalls compared to Michelins. Start at 30 to 31 PSI and adjust from there (per Nick from Team O’Neil).
  9. Running with your lights on is good for safety but bad for photographs; it looks like your brakes are on in all the photos.
  10. Dust sucks. A lot. Carry rags in the car to stuff and duct tape into all the little crevices that dust will blow in through (cage passthroughs in the firewall).
  11. Figure out where you’re going to store helmets during transit before you get out on stage (we didn’t have time to install our helmet hooks).
  12. Conserve brakes; driving blind at Maine with tulips caused me to do a lot of early and heavy left foot braking and trail braking because I didn’t know the corners. After 15.5 stage miles there was a lot of brake fade even with synthetic DOT5 and Porterfield R-4s.
  13. Park your service vehicles in front of your trailer overnight so no one blocks it in.
  14. The first night stage you do you won’t even notice the photographer’s flashes going off; it wasn’t until I looked at the in-car that I even realized how many flashes there were.
  15. Doing 90 MPH through the giant blowup Red Bull display makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
  16. It’s your navigator’s job to watch the mirrors for traffic that wants to pass. The first time you look in the mirror at 80 MPH and unexpectedly see nothing but hood it’ll scare the **** out of you.
  17. Make sure your navigator has a place for spare pens; dust destroys Sharpies.
  18. Gaffer tape is your friend.
  19. Toilet paper in the toolkit. Just in case.