In Defence Of PETA’s Attack On Super Mario

In Defence Of PETA’s Attack On Super Mario

Last week, the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, ticked off a lot of people who like video games. But maybe the gamers shouldn’t have been so upset about that whole “Mario Kills Tanooki” thing?

On one side we had the notorious animal-rights rabble-rousers complaining that Super Mario endorses the wearing of fur because he can turn into Tanooki (raccoon-tailed) Mario in the new Super Mario 3D Land. Maybe, as depicted in a web game made for PETA, Mario is a bloodthirsty fur-wearing savage. Or maybe this was a cultural misunderstanding and, oh yeah, the PETA people wanted everyone to know it was all “tongue-in-cheek./”

The people for the ethical treatment of video games mostly weren’t having it. Take Marcus Beer, former gaming public relations man and now a boisterous member of the Invisible Walls team at His thoughts about the matter? “So, PETA, go f**k yourselves.”


An image of raccoon dogs being beaten supposedly in the proces of being skinned alive for their fur, from PETA’s Mario Kills Tanooki site.

Ah, but there’s a twist to all this. What if, in fact, this whole PETA thing isn’t anti-video games? What if PETA deserves to be commended for what it said about Mario?

Check out this exchange between Beer and former Kotaku editor Michael McWhertor, now a GameTrailers staffer, on last week’s Invisible Walls show. This starts at around the 44-minute mark [emphasis added by Kotaku]: [imgclear]

Marcus Beer: “They’ve stopped being about protecting the animals and now it’s like, ‘We’re PETA; we’re the most important thing. If you don’t like us, you’re evil.’ Well, you know what? I don’t fucking like you. If that makes me evil? Great. I have cats at home that I look after. We have stray cats we look after. We eat organic, sustainably farmed meet at home, so, PETA, go fuck yourselves.”

Michael McWhertor: “I am on the other side of this. I love PETA. Mostly because I love that they fuck with people. And I actually think that it’s really great that PETA pays attention to video games and that they try to reach out… that they view this as a viable form of entertainment.

Beer: “I don’t think they actually pay attention to video games. They saw a commercial … the nearest most of them have come to a Wiimote is pulling it back out of their asses after they’ve fucked themselves with it. “

McWhertor: So PETA did say ‘relax,’ today. I think they may have even been specifically talking to you, Marcus. … I think one of the things that’s good about it is, for as many people who are on message boards and comment threads who are upset about it, there’s probably going to be some people who go the PETA website, see what it is that they’re about, maybe reconsider [and] what they do with their diet and their superfluous fashion choices. I’m not necessarily a vegetarian. I wear leather shoes. My brother’s a vegan. And so I have some respect for the choices people make… You know what, don’t let PETA upset you. It’s great comedy…

Beer: Everybody upsets me…

There’s more to the exchange in an episode that also includes a lot of talk about the new Assassin’s Creed, the new Zelda and a trio of fighting games. Check it out.

Invisible Walls Podcast – Episode 186 [GameTrailers]


  • I understand what PETA were trying to do….but it was soooooOOooo poorly executed.

    If you want to get your message out to the masses, you need to do it without pissing a bunch of people off otherwise your message gets lost in the criticism and you come off looking like a douchebag instead.

    • Yes, and it’s easy to pick and choose what to eat and wear when you live in a blue collar society and wack off to pictures of your balls taken on your polaroid app on your iPhone.

      Those who live in poverty or live in a subsistence don’t get the choice to be vegan or not. They don’t get to choose what to eat and to take calcium/protein supplements as substitutes for not eating a balanced diet. Fuck you PETA.

  • PETA are trolls who are frighteningly serious about what they stand for. What’s that? Guide Dogs for the blind is animal cruelty? They are not reasonable people and there is nothing reasonable about what they stand for if you read up on it.

    They’re pretty two faced on what they promote and what they stand for.

  • So one exchange between two people, neither of whom are associated with PETA or with animal rights in anyway, is the best defence you can muster?

    PETA are worse than a joke, they’re an institution founded on stupidity, mismanagement and exploitation. They spend the majority of their budget on shock ad campaigns and media grabbing bull crap like this and less than 1% on actually supporting animal shelters and services that help and protect neglected animals. They’re annual budget is north of fifty million.

    There’s no defending them, or their latest media attention whoring money splurge. I can’t think of a more useless and ineffective multi million dollar charity organisation in the world.

  • How about the group who hacked the PSN then? They said they were doing it to point out the flaws in information security system and they used a gaming platform to do it?

    If this is a valid defense for PETA then it must also apply to the PSN hackers – QED.

  • Shame there isn’t more substance to this devil’s advocate article, something Kotaku would do well to have more of I think.

    As mentioned previously, anyone interested in PETA should look up Penn and Teller’s Bullshit episode on them. Take your critical thinking cap with you, of course (it shouldn’t leave your head anyway), and have a watch. It’s probably on youtube.

    The squirming hypocrisy of PETA’s Mary Beth Sweetland is interesting in the least.

  • I wonder if Marcus knows that owning pets won’t make PETA think any better of him? In there eyes, it is essentially a form of slavery.

  • I consider myself to be pretty conscious when it comes to animal rights. But I must say I think PETA do more harm than good to the cause these days. I would even go so far as to say that sometimes I suspect they’ve been taken over by anti-animal rights corporations in order to make a joke out of the movement…
    I much prefer Humane Society or WWF – seeing as they actually work to make a difference rather than spend all their money on attention whoring campaigns.

  • McWhertor is an idiot apologist. Even PETA’s goner out of their way to say it was a joke, and that it blew up in their faces. They’re self-proclaimed press sluts. They don’t know shit about videogames. They saw an ad that had a character wearing a faux-animal skin and thought it was the new topical thing they’d latch onto and bitch about. There’s no thought or integrity that goes into what they do, so don’t make excuses with them.

  • I’m a vegetarian and qnimal rights supporter, but i do think PETA does some pretty stupid things that harm the imagine of all animal rights groups. But whether you like them or not, they have achieved some great things for animals. Such as exposing cases of animal cruelty.

    And no you don’t need to take vitamins or any supplements when following a vegetarian diet. It’s well known that both the vegetarian/vegan diets are among the healthiest diets. Do your research.

    • So that explains why I’m almost never sick and if I am get over it in under 48 hours whilst the vegetarians I know are ALWAYS (literally) sick or feeling lethargic.

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