SeaWorld’s two adorable penguin mascots, Pete and Penny, are coming to New York for a special event in the Meatpacking District tonight, but PETA wants people to realize that the celebrity appearance will not be as light-hearted as it seems. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals allege that the two live penguin guests of honor will be shuttled all around the floor in a publicity stunt amidst flashing lights and loud DJ music. While a chaotic party atmosphere is fine for most people, the organization is worried that it will be a terrifying experience for the animals.
The event is scheduled to kick off later today at 6:30 p.m. at Bagatelle, which is situated at 1 Little West 12th Street. In an email obtained by DNAinfo, PETA decried the event as a “desperate, raucous publicity stunt” to the manager and president of Bagatelle while trying to persuade the restaurant to cancel the event.
Prior to tonight’s festivities, SeaWorld featured its penguin mascots at other promotional events. Most recently, the aquarium walked the amphibious avians down an airplane row during a Southwest Airlines flight and an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360. It’s events like these, as well as tonight’s party at Bagatelle that irk some animal lovers, who see them as examples of animal cruelty and exploitation. The same argument could be raised against famous Internet cat celebrities like GrumpyCat and Lilbub who are being shuttled around the country from event to event like SXSW or an appearance on the Today Show.
PETA plans to protest outside of Bagatelle, 1 Little West 12th Street starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, ahead of the party’s scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.