While interviewing Christopher Walken yesterday about his new movie, “Seven Psychopaths,” in which he plays a man who kidnaps dogs for the reward money, “Live With Kelly and Michael” co-host Kelly Ripa brought up the topic of his four-legged co-star.
“The gangster’s dog, if it was a gangster, would have to be a dangerous, Pit Bull kind of dog, right?” she asked Walken.
Walken replied no, the dog — actually a rescued Shih Tzu mix named Bonny — was sweet and easy to work with.
The backlash to Ripa’s remark was almost immediate. By Tuesday afternoon, the Live with Kelly and Michael Facebook page was filled with comments from animal lovers, many of them responsible Pit Bull pet parents, angered that Ripa had perpetuated the negative stereotype about this maligned breed.
“As a veterinarian who has three Pit Bulls — two of which are therapy dogs — and works with numerous bully breed rescues, I can honestly say from a professional point of view that Pit Bulls are one of the best breeds out there,” wrote Kara Rogers. “Thanks for stereotyping, ‘Blondie.’”
Janine Marr wrote, “Nothing irritates me more than ignorant people. But wait, I guess something does irritate me more: ignorant people in the public eye like you, Kelly. I am not a ‘gangster’ … I’m also married to a … federal police officer with a degree in criminal justice. We are your ‘typical’ Pit Bull owners. ”
Kaley Cuoco, star of “The Big Bang Theory” and a Pit Bull advocate, tweeted, “I really hope @KellyRipa didn’t say what I think she said regarding pit bulls. #Please don’t be true.”
A Change.org petition asking Ripa to volunteer her time to a Pit Bull rescue has more than 1,300 signatures.
Ripa didn’t mention her remark or the response to it on today’s show.
“Pit Bull type dog” pet parents: Please post a photo of you and your pooch (or just your pooch) on our Facebook page so we can add it to our “I’m Not a Gangster and My Pittie’s Not Dangerous” photo album. Or tweet a picture @iLoveDogsInc with the hashtag #imnogangster.
Here’s the clip: