Russian zoo sues ad agency for ‘traumatizing’ raccoon in racy photo shoot

The zoo is suing the firm for damage they say the shoot has done to the entire species. (Reuters)
Updated 17 March 2017

Russian zoo sues ad agency for ‘traumatizing’ raccoon in racy photo shoot

DUBAI: A zoo in Moscow is suing an advertising agency that used one of its animals in a racy photo shoot.
Tomas the raccoon returned to the zoo “traumatized” after posing with a naked woman during the shoot with Moscow-based studio Art-Msk last year, zoo representatives said.
The privately-run zoo called Animals Aren’t Toys is now suing the firm for Tomas’ experience and the damage they say the shoot has done to the entire species.
“The plaintiff considers it unacceptable to use a raccoon in video and photographs with a naked woman,” the zoo said in a suit.
“By photographing him with a naked woman, the defendant has caused damage to the raccoon population. Now everyone who sees this video or photographs will directly associate raccoons with erotica,” adds the document, which was filed in Moscow’s Nikolinsky district court on Tuesday.
Zoo staff said that Art-Msk hired Tomas for a photo shoot in August 2016 but did not reveal that he would be posing alongside a woman in the nude.
However, a backstage video of the shoot shows a blonde woman playing tug-of-war with the animal in bed, over what seems to be her lingerie.
“Tomas came back withdrawn, always slept in the corner, and snapped at people,” zoo spokesman Viktor Kiryukhin said, according to The Telegraph.
“Furthermore, we began to notice that he reached for women’s breasts. We think to perform several takes the film crew lured him onto the actress’ chest with treats. Now he thinks he can always expect a treat near women’s breasts.”
The head of Art-Msk’s video marketing department Valery Bogatov said the claim was “absurd” and added that the video was never meant to be erotic as it was intended to be shown on national television.
“The raccoon himself grabbed the actress’s bra and ran under the bed. Originally we asked for a trained animal, because raccoons are generally unmanageable. But we were given this — he was young and constantly ran away. After several takes he stole the underwear and chewed it,” he told Tabloid site Life News.
“When the zoo told us they would sue us, we told them we’d file our own suit for the cost of the bra,” Bogatov later told The Telegraph.
“I said it as a joke, because I thought they were joking too. Now it seems it is serious,” he said. “I’d like to make absolutely clear we never violated any animal rights,” he added.


American sued in Thailand over negative Tripadviser review

Updated 26 September 2020

American sued in Thailand over negative Tripadviser review

  • ‘We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future’

BANGKOK: An American has been sued by an island resort in Thailand over a negative TripAdviser review, authorities said Saturday, and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty.
Domestic tourism is still happening in Thailand, where coronavirus numbers are relatively low, with locals and expats heading to near-empty resorts — including Koh Chang island, famed for its sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
But a recent visit to the Sea View Resort on the island landed Wesley Barnes in trouble after he wrote unflattering online reviews about his holiday.
“The Sea View Resort owner filed a complaint that the defendant had posted unfair reviews on his hotel on the Tripadviser website,” Col. Thanapon Taemsara of Koh Chang police said.
He said Barnes was accused of causing “damage to the reputation of the hotel,” and of quarrelling with staff over not paying a corkage fee for alcohol brought to the hotel.
Barnes, who works in Thailand, was arrested by immigration police and returned to Koh Chang where he was briefly detained and then freed on bail.
According to the Tripadviser review Barnes posted in July, he encountered “unfriendly staff” who “act like they don’t want anyone here.”
The Sea View Resort said legal action was only taken because Barnes had penned multiple reviews on different sites over the past few weeks.
At least one was posted in June on Tripadviser accusing the hotel of “modern day slavery” — which the site removed after a week for violating its guidelines.
“We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future,” the hotel said, adding that staff had attempted to contact Barnes before filing the complaint.
Barnes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Thailand’s notorious anti-defamation laws have long drawn scrutiny from human rights and press freedom groups, who say powerful players use it as a weapon to stifle free expression.
The maximum sentence is two years in prison, along with a 200,000 baht ($6,300) fine.
Earlier this year, a Thai journalist was sentenced to two years in prison for posting a tweet referencing a dispute over working conditions at a chicken farm owned by the Thammakaset company.