Good news: Unlike last year, Skechers will not be using ubiquitous divorcee Kim Kardashian in its Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 5.
Bad news: Instead, the company’s commercial will feature Greyhounds racing around a track.
According to Reuters, the commercial will show Skechers’ spokesdog, a French Bulldog named Mr. Quiggley, wearing high-tech GOrun shoes as he races a group of Greyhounds. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a Skechers partner, also appears in the ad.
Because of the sport’s cruel treatment of dogs, Greyhound racing has been banned in 38 states, including Massachusetts.
Grey2K USA, the only full-time U.S. organization dedicated to passing stronger Greyhound protection laws and ending dog racing, was instrumental in stopping the races in Massachusetts. A petition it has started on Change.org calling for Skechers to pull the commercial currently has more than 49,000 signatures.
The commercial was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park in Arizona, which, Grey2K USA notes in its petition, is one of the worst in the country: “Greyhounds are kept confined in small cages which are barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around [in]. They are fed raw 4-D meat, the meat of downed, diseased, disabled or dead livestock. This was documented in a recent video investigation and in news reports.”
Once their racing careers are over – typically between the ages of 2 and 5, or if they haven’t won enough races – Greyhounds are usually either euthanized or find themselves homeless. Trent Reznor, the dog dad of two rescued Greyhounds, recently auctioned off Nine-Inch Nails items to raise money for two Greyhound rescue groups.
But Skechers insists the commercial is meant to be humorous. In an email sent to Grey2K USA last month from Gary Patrick, Skechers’ vice president of media, he denied any promotion of Greyhound racing.
“We were very careful in our approach and the attached letter from the Humane Society outlines the care and respect we took in our efforts,” he wrote.
Although the American Humane Association stated that no animals were harmed in the filming of the commercial, Christine Dorchak, the president of Grey2K USA, told Business Insider that there still is no excuse for the ad.
“We can’t understand why Skechers would choose to promote dog racing in any capacity,” she said. “This is like hiring O.J. Simpson to advertise Hertz.”
To join the protest against the commercial, Grey2K USA suggests you do any of the following:
- Boycott Skechers products until the ad is pulled.
- Sign the petition.
- Use social media: Tweet @SkechersUSA and add a comment on the company’s Facebook wall.
- Join the protest planned for January 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. outside the Skechers store in Tucson.
PHOTO: Steve Aris