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<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13701-2003Jul5.html?nav=hptoc_c" target="_blank">http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...ml?nav=hptoc_c</a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">washingtonpost.com<br><br><br><br><b>For One Actor, No More Chicken Parts</b><br><br><i>A Seinfeldian Threesome: KFC, PETA and 'George'</i><br><br><br><br>
By Marc Kaufman<br><br>
Washington Post Staff Writer<br><br>
Sunday, July 6, 2003; Page D01<br><br><br><br>
Actor Jason Alexander became famous as the amoral, self-centered character George Costanza of the "Seinfeld" show. But now he's in the middle of a battle between animal rights activists and the makers of Kentucky Fried Chicken over whether or not he lost his job as the ubiquitous KFC pitchman because of a soft spot in his heart for, well, chickens.<br><br><br><br>
The complete story of how and why Alexander's lucrative KFC contract was terminated last month remains obscured, since the actor and the company will only discuss it in general terms and by press release. They insist that the parting was amicable.<br><br><br><br>
But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) insists otherwise. Alexander, representatives say, became concerned about how those billions of KFC chickens are raised and slaughtered, and either got the boot as a result or parted ways because KFC wouldn't commit to making certain changes.<br><br><br><br>
Precisely the kind of trouble that George always knew is in store for anyone who tries to do good.<br><br><br><br>
The whole episode began like this:<br><br><br><br>
For several years now, PETA has campaigned against KFC and the way that it allows chickens to be raised. The birds, which PETA claims are in some ways more intelligent than cats and dogs, are raised in enormous factory farms, and are usually jammed into dark barns where they can barely move. To many animal rights activists, the treatment of the nation's 9 billion chickens is among the most egregious examples of the cruelty inherent in industrial livestock farming.<br><br><br><br>
This spring, PETA decided to go after Alexander as part of its campaign to target high-profile executives and company representatives. The actor was about to begin appearing in a Los Angeles production of "The Producers" and, after several unanswered letters to his office asking to meet, PETA made clear it would picket the show and accuse Alexander of pitching for a cruel company.<br><br><br><br>
The threat got Alexander's attention, says PETA, and he immediately made time for the group's president, Ingrid Newkirk. As she tells it, she flew out to Los Angeles this spring after Alexander invited her, and they spent several hours together, even though the actor didn't feel well and could barely speak.<br><br><br><br>
Newkirk says Alexander listened intently and asked questions as she explained the way the chickens are raised -- jammed together into barns that stink from ammonia and droppings. She told how some birds are thrown alive into scalding water to kill them and how some get their heads smashed against walls. She even had hidden-camera video. Newkirk asked Alexander to support the eight-point program PETA had developed to improve conditions.<br><br><br><br>
"He said that he wanted to work for an ethical company and that the information we presented was troubling to him," she say. "He called the company's president for us and helped set up a meeting. I believe he was advocating for us and even told me later 'I am an ally.' "<br><br><br><br>
According to Newkirk, Cheryl Bachelder, president of KFC, quickly set up a meeting after the call from Alexander. (Another factor that may have played a role: PETA also had informed the well-heeled neighbors of Bachelder and of David Novak, CEO of KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands, in suburban Louisville, that it would bring a truck with two large TV screens to the area to show its version of how KFC chickens are treated.) Newkirk says that meeting between PETA and Bachelder resulted in an agreement by KFC to adopt new humane treatment guidelines, and was considered quite a coup by PETA.<br><br><br><br>
But KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer says that while the company did agree to new humane treatment guidelines in May, it was in the works for some time and PETA had nothing to do with it. "We're leaders in this field and are proud of it," she says. Meanwhile, Alexander's contract with KFC was being renegotiated for another six months and his lawyer says the actor expected to continue with the company. KFC sales had jumped after Alexander joined its ad campaign in 2001 and, although sales had recently slipped, the ads were still well regarded. In fact, two had been voted among the top 20 ads of 2002 by a top advertising industry newspaper. In late May, Alexander's lawyer, Michael Gendler, told Advertising Age, "It's basically done, not literally signed, but it's done. Additional terms were built in and I fully anticipate going the distance."<br><br><br><br>
But then late last month came reports that Alexander was not being renewed. In the words of Warschauer, KFC was "going for a new creative."<br><br><br><br>
The actor and the company said their parting was amicable, and Alexander released a statement saying that "I have done commercials since I was a child and fully understand that two years is an enormous success for an on-air representative and a company. KFC has been a wonderful company with which to work." He made no mention of any disenchantment with KFC or the way its suppliers treat chickens.<br><br><br><br>
But in true Seinfeldian fashion, the drama continued. KFC wants to let it all drop, but the PETA people are convinced that Alexander either fell on his sword for the birds or got fired because he stood up for chicken rights. (That statement of his, they said, was a classic non-denial denial.)<br><br><br><br>
Newkirk reports that Alexander called her office before his contract ended and asked for the names of the KFC experts on humane treatment of birds. "If Alexander is what he appears to be, he is a decent and concerned person," she says.<br><br><br><br>
The company disputes this version of events entirely, with Warschauer saying last week that PETA and animal welfare "played absolutely no role" in the decision to end the collaboration. "Nothing could be further from the truth," she says. To support her view, Warschauer reported that Alexander made a final KFC commercial late last month with golf star Annika Sorenstam in Atlantic City, and that everyone had a great time. "With regard to Jason," Warschauer says, "we had a great run with him, and everyone is still friends."<br><br><br><br>
As for Alexander, his people in Los Angeles are keeping their counsel, unwilling to discuss whether their man is a hero with principles or just an actor who lost an advertising gig. "We will send you the statement," the secretary to his agent said, and forwarded his remarks. "There's nothing more to say."<br><br><br><br>
So Alexander is trying to leave on a high note. But as George famously learned when he worked for Kruger Abrasives and tried to leave everyone laughing, that's not an easy thing to do. And in this case, especially not easy because the battle between PETA and KFC looks like it will be heating up soon.<br><br><br><br>
"KFC is lying" about its animal rights record, says Bruce Friedrich, head of PETA's campaign against the company. "We will be taking all available options to stop them from deceiving people about the horrible abuse of animals they are supporting."<br><br><br><br>
As for KFC, the company recently accused PETA of "corporate terrorism" after pro-PETA animal rights activist doused their CEO with fake blood in Europe.<br><br><br><br>
A whole lot of intensity about something that most people don't really think much about, and Jason Alexander is in the middle of it. Sound familiar?<br><br><br><br><i>© 2003 The Washington Post Company</i></div>
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Soooooooooooo...Alexander makes no mention of leaving because of the PETA campaign, but the PETA-weinies claim it as a victory anyway? Okaaaaaaaaaay. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:">
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm sure there's some truth to both sides, but don't you find it interesting that he suddenly parted ways with KFC after PETA's meeting, and is now "an ally?"<br><br><br><br>
I see this as one of the better uses of PETA's time, considering.
 

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Newkrik says he is an "ally". Newkirk is a lying whore, therefore I don't believe her.<br><br><br><br>
Based on his statements, there is no evidence to do so.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">originally posted by Tame[/i]<br><br><b>Soooooooooooo...Alexander makes no mention of leaving because of the PETA campaign, but the PETA-weinies claim it as a victory anyway?</b></div>
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Hard to spot the truth in this one. Perhaps Alexander has contractual obligations not to comment...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not unlikely, sunnyk. Contractual obligations make actors do all kinds of weird things in Hollywood. Of course, they do all kinds of weird things <i>without</i> contracts, but...
 

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Contractual obligations was the first thing I thought of too, LOL. Then again, I'm on the chickens' side here... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by epski</i><br><br><b>Not unlikely, sunnyk. Contractual obligations make actors do all kinds of weird things in Hollywood. Of course, they do all kinds of weird things <i>without</i> contracts, but...</b></div>
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In this case, both sides say there is no longer a contract.<br><br><br><br>
Unless Alexander took a pay-off to stay silent, in which case he is not that ethical...
 

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I have a hard time believing PETA as well, although I do think meeting with high-profile people about making changes to the way animals are treated is actually a good thing for PETA to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd like to see PETA leaning people behind the scenes like this more, and making public asses of themselves less.<br><br><br><br>
My mother won't read anything with the word PETA on it, as it's instantly disregarded as propaganda. It's hard enough to get her to listen to the veggie message without the propaganda obstacle to surmount, too.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by epski</i><br><br><b><br><br>
My mother won't read anything with the word PETA on it, as it's instantly disregarded as propaganda. It's hard enough to get her to listen to the veggie message without the propaganda obstacle to surmount, too.</b></div>
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She's a smart woman, Epski. Listen to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Geez I wish PETA would act "better"<br><br>
Some of the stuff they do is go GOOD<br><br>
But when they are bad....they are so very very bad.<br><br><br><br>
I was reading an article online about Ms. Newkirk and the inner circle. In a meeting they had they were contemplating using Charlton Heston's situation as an example since he hunts (so he must eat meat)........ack How insensitive, ridiculous, and just plain mean spirited is that?. I wish they wouldn't do things like that.<br><br><br><br>
Wish there was a more rational organization out there that was so enthusiastic (closest I've found is veganoutreach.com, and - frankly - they really aren't "on fire").
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Tame</i><br><br><b>She's a smart woman, Epski. Listen to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"></b></div>
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If I listened to her I wouldn't be vegan anymore. No thanks. I think I stopped paying attention to what she told me to do back when I was 10.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by epski</i><br><br><b>If I listened to her I wouldn't be vegan anymore. No thanks. I think I stopped paying attention to what she told me to do back when I was 10.</b></div>
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Was that when she said if you kept rubbing it at night it would fall off? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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The how and why don't really matter. Alexander no longer sells chicken, PETA is still (somewhat) idiotic, and Colonel Sanders is still a murderer.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Peebs</i><br><br><b>The how and why don't really matter. Alexander no longer sells chicken, PETA is still (somewhat) idiotic, and Colonel Sanders is still a murderer.</b></div>
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Legally, Colonel Sanders is not a murderer. Plus, I think he is dead, unless you mean that little cartoon fellow on the commercials. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I mean Col. Sanders as a metaphor/symbol for KFC. Legally, KFC is not a murderer because farm animals have no rights. Too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Tame</i><br><br><b>Was that when she said if you kept rubbing it at night it would fall off? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"></b></div>
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Fortunately, my mom was quite liberal. She actually offered to buy me condoms when she figured out I'd had someone over after school one day before she got home from work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
How she grew to be so closed-minded over the years is beyond me, but it makes me afraid that I'll become calcified in my own beliefs, so I like to challenge them often. That's where you come in, Tame. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by epski</i><br><br><b>Fortunately, my mom was quite liberal. She actually offered to buy me condoms when she figured out I'd had someone over after school one day before she got home from work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
How she grew to be so closed-minded over the years is beyond me, but it makes me afraid that I'll become calcified in my own beliefs, so I like to challenge them often. That's where you come in, Tame. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"></b></div>
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Always here to help. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/pimp.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":tame:"><br><br><br><br>
I cannot imagine my parents supplying me with condoms. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><br><br><br><br>
I hope to be cool with my kids. I'm glad I don't have a daughter. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 
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