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.

One Response to “Plaza Auto Mall Changes Tune After Learning Great Apes Are Beaten Into Performing”

  1. Seektherapy says:

    That is not what happened at all. John Rosatti’s girlfriend donated to PETA and told John to stop using the trunk monkeys. The next day he called the company he used for advertising and broke his contract. PETA got the dealerships name after his girlfriend used it as a contact when she donated.
    Several days later, PETA used this information against John Rosatti, to gain media attention. If PETA would have handled the situation differently they would’ve made a bigger difference in this fight to save monkeys, apes and orangutans. PETA chose to act first without thinking. What a shame because the organization could have had several dealerships against it

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