Earlier this month, famed comedian Chris Rock was rebuked by animal lovers across the nation after making very strong comments in defense of Michael Vick, infamous for running a large-scale dog-fighting ring and serving time for federal dog fighting conspiracy charges.
While discussing the current buzz around filmmaker Roman Polanski’s rape charges and lack of support in recent years for Polanski’s extradition with Jay Leno, Rock made a comparison between the nation’s treatment of those who harm animals and those who harm humans that went as follows:
Jay Leno: It’s amazing to me that you mistreat a dog and you lose your career and go to jail for two years.
Chris Rock: What the hell did Michael Vick do, man? A dog, a Pit Bull ain’t even a real dog.
The conversation continued in this vein, and both Rock and Leno went under fire for their Vick Pit Bull insensitive banter. Their comments rang loud and clear throughout the World Wide Web and reached as far as Jennifer Lee Pryor, wife of the late Richard Pryor. As she recounts in an open letter to Chris Rock, a concerned fan left a message on her Facebook profile describing the nature of Rock’s remarks. An incredibly vocal animal rights activist, Lee Pryor immediately responded to Chris Rock’s comments with this open letter on Richard Pryor’s website forum.
“Richard and I established Pryor’s Planet, a non-profit, before he passed, for the purpose of rescuing and rehabilitating homeless and abused or neglected dogs, so they can go into loving, forever homes,” said Lee Pryor. She specifically goes on to point out the seven Pit Bulls that the organization is currently fostering, “Each one is a sweet and affectionate dog who was mistreated, or dumped or neglected all because of their breed! These are sentient, thinking beings with real feelings.”
She goes on to answer Rock’s surprising question, “‘What did Michael Vick do?’ What Michael Vick did was torture, drown, electrocute and murder several dogs all for fun and for profit! That’s what he did!”
As a producer on the upcoming Richard Pryor biopic, Lee Pryor explained the amount of power she had over the casting of the film. Though Chris Rock was a frontrunner for the lead role, Lee Pryor made it very clear that his comments would keep him as far away as possible from a film about animal-loving Richard Pryor.
“Because of your insensitive and ignorant remarks that you made on The Jay Leno Show… I don’t want you, Chris Rock, associated with the Richard Pryor Bio Pic — unless, you find a way to retract and apologize for these comments in some public way. Clearly this is part of your latest stand-up routine which frankly, would not make Richard laugh!”
There are no reports that Rock has made any public statement of apology since. Meanwhile, recent reports say fellow famed comedian Marlon Wayans has been slated to play the coveted role in “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?” The film is due for nationwide release in 2011.