Animal rights group PETA wants Pixar’s upcoming Toy Story 4 to get rid of Bo Peep’s crook. Voiced by Annie Potts, the character was noticeably absent from Toy Story 3, but after 20 years of not being an active part of the Toy Story family, Bo Peep is set to return in Toy Story 4, complete with a new look.
Long portrayed as the love interest of the Tom Hanks-voiced character Woody, Bo Peep’s presence in Toy Story has always been subtle and sweet. And, while she doesn’t necessarily occupy the same amount of screen time as Woody, Buzz Lightyear, or even characters like Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, the character has always been a recognizable part of the Toy Story series and far from a controversial element in any way. All of that is perhaps about to change, however, as Bo Peep has suddenly been thrust into the limelight.
PETA has released a statement addressing their desire to have Bo Peep’s shepherd's crook removed from the final cut of Toy Story 4. With Pixar’s modern reworking of Bo Peep’s look in the latest film, PETA has asked director Josh Cooley to make additional changes. The request specifically addresses the fact that Bo Peep's new look is meant to appear modern, though PETA argues that the crook is "outdated and cruel." PETA’s Manager of Animals in Film and Television Lauren Thomasson said:
"I’m contacting you today about Bo Peep’s new look. Given that she was designed to have a “modern” look, why hasn’t she “lost” that outdated and cruel crook? You may not know that these “shepherd’s crooks,” are used solely to hook a sheep’s neck and force these gentle animals to move. That isn’t something that a progressive Bo Peep would countenance in 2019! A “badass” Bo Peep would likely bop the shearers, not the sheep. [A] symbol of domination over any animal is a thing of the past and not something that belongs in Toy Story 4. Won’t you please consider removing Bo Peep’s crook from the final animation?”
The crook is a tool traditionally used by shepherds and those in the wool industry to hook sheep by the legs and neck in order to facilitate their control. In their appeal to Pixar and Cooley, PETA pointed out that 11 out of 99 sheep operations on four different continents have been caught abusing and torturing sheep - even going as far as to skin them alive, all for their wool. PETA is known for their tough stance on animal rights and has even succeeded bringing change to various production methods for corporations and organizations like Nike, NASA, and high-end fashion retailer Cache, to name but a few. Their past efforts aren’t typically directed at animated films, but in 2019, it appears that PETA is intent on taking the fight for the respect of animals to a new level.
As of this writing, neither Pixar nor Cooley has responded to the request, but it should be acknowledged that this isn’t something to be taken lightly. Over the years, PETA has proven themselves to be an organization with a great deal of power and sway over public opinion. Whether or not you agree with PETA’s tactics or even their claim that Bo Peep’s crook is morally disagreeable, it’s clear that the last thing Pixar needs in the lead-up to this summer’s Toy Story 4 release is to be at the center of a controversy that could potentially harm box office receipts.
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019