Robert Irwin named in PETA investigation
PETA has asked New York City's health department to investigate The Tonight Show for improperly allowing celebrities such as Kate Beckinsale and Jacob Anderson to play with animals on the broadcast.
The animal rights organisation is up in arms after NBC hired Grant Kemmerer of Wild World of Animals for various segments that involved celebrities touching animals, including having The Widow actor poke an African bullfrog.
On another episode, Anderson, who played Greyworm on Game of Thrones, was stuffed into a phone booth with Kemmerer, Jimmy Fallon and a python snake, Page Six reports.
The letter also cites a segment in which Robert Irwin, the son of the late Steve Irwin, handles an alligator, a millipede, a miniature horse and a mandrill on separate occasions.
PETA's letter to the New York City Health Department claims Kemmerer didn't have permission to let anyone other than himself and his employees touch the wildlife - though Kemmerer insists his involvement with the NBC show creates an exception.
"Fallon or Robert Irwin are not the public," Kemmerer told us.
"It was deemed even people in the audience are not looked at as the public - in the eyes of the USDA - because they're paying for an entertainment show and expect this type of show. … You're not going to pull out a random animal and hope it goes OK."
"We are alleviating any potential risk, and for Jimmy Fallon, he's not going into this unknowing," he added.
"He is a participating person in this. They're having Robert on there to bring the animals."
The Department of Health confirmed to Page Six on Tuesday that it's reviewing PETA's letter and its allegations, though they couldn't provide the permits.
"Animals suffer every time they're exposed to the chaos of a television set and passed around like props," said PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange in a statement to Page Six.
"PETA is calling on authorities to throw the book at this hack for brazenly violating - on camera - the clear conditions of his exhibitor permits."
PETA is asking for Kemmerer to be banned from obtaining future permits and calling for The Tonight Show to cut ties with him, as well as cease all use of animals on the nightly show.
But a source close to production at The Tonight Show told us, "The safety of animals is important to everyone at the show and we take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety."
A rep for the The Tonight Show declined to comment.
This article originally appeared on Page Six and was reproduced with permission