CBS Nixes "Survivor" PETA Ad
Wed May 28, 5:55 PM ET
By Josh Grossberg
Does CBS have a PETA vendetta?
The pro-critter group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seems to think so after network brass nixed plans for Survivor: Amazon winner Jenna Morasca to appear in a new anti-fur campaign.
The 21-year-old swimsuit model, who took home the million-dollar jackpot earlier this month, had agreed to slip into a fake fur bikini (think Raquel Welch (news) in 1966's One Million Years B.C.) for a PETA print ad. According to a PETA rep, everything was good to go, until CBS execs pulled out the rug at the 11th hour.
"They initially gave us the green light on doing the ad then came back and said that it could not mention the word Survivor--the title of the show--or the word 'survive,'" says PETA spokesman Michael McGraw. "We had hope to make mention with a caption of her Survivor notoriety."
McGray says the animal-rights group came back with a new caption ("Animals Need Fur to Decide--You Don't") that indirectly referenced the hit reality show and also met CBS' guidelines. But again the network balked, McGray says.
Then PETA suggested a more innocuous-sounding slogan--"Wear Fake for the Animals' Sake." That finally met with CBS approval, but, according to PETA, reversed itself and refused to allow Morasca to appear, citing "contractual obligations." (Per the Survivor contract, CBS has a say in contestants' appearances up to a year after the show airs.)
When asked about the alleged agreement with PETA, CBS disputed the group's account.
"I'm not aware of anybody at CBS initially approving of Jenna's participation," network spokesman Chris Ender says. "They presented an ad to us in which they wanted Jenna to participate. Obviously Survivor is a very important brand in this company and we're very careful what we approve [especially] if it's an advocacy issue."
McGraw is quick to point out that another, even bigger reality franchise had no problem endorsing PETA's position. He notes that Fox allowed American Idol finalist Vanessa Olivarez to pose in the buff for PETA's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur Ad" series, which previously featured the likes of Kim Basinger, Christy Turlington and Pamela Anderson.
History would suggest there's no love lost between CBS and PETA. The Eye net has been trying to outwit, outplay and outlast the group ever since the first edition of Survivor.
Pro-vegetarian PETA activists first took up pickets outside CBS offices after the original group of would-be Gilligans chowed down on giant rats. Survivor drew even more ire from the group in its second season when it showed tribe members clubbing chickens for breakfast and one, Michael Skupin, slaughtering a slow-moving wild piglet.
Ender, however, rejects any notion that CBS has an axe to grind.
"We harbor no grudge against PETA," he says. "In some ways, we're grateful. They've provided us with some of the best publicity we ever had in the first season."