Like so many others for whom the Hollywood dream has gone sour, Sable, Cody, and Angel probably started in the business with high hopes, but wound up mostly living hand to mouth, forced into wearing close to nothing and swinging on poles for other's amusement when they weren't being terrorized by a physically abusive svengali. But now comes happy news, as a lawsuit settlement has granted the three hard-luck showbiz vets an early retirement:
Three Hollywood chimpanzees, said to have been punched and beaten to make them perform, will spend the rest of their lives in an animal sanctuary in an cruelty lawsuit settlement, an animal rights group said on Thursday. [...]
Sable, Cody and Angel, who have appeared in numerous TV shows, commercials and movies including "That '70s Show" and "The Craig Kilborn Show," were named in a federal lawsuit alleging cruelty by their California trainer Sid Yost, whose stage name is Ranger Rick.
The group brought the case after an undercover primatologist worked with Yost for a year at his southern California facility for chimps. She reported seeing him punching the chimps with his fists, repeatedly beating them with sticks and broom handles, and kicking them in the head to make them obedient.
While the favorable settlement will no doubt come as a great relief to Pamela Anderson, Bob Barker, and monkey-human liaison Alec Baldwin—all of whom swore never to appear on screen with a chimpanzee again after the findings were made public— the outcome was never really in question, as Ranger Rick's meager defense was predicated entirely on the argument that a swift kick to the head was the only language his animal actors seemed to speak when it came to teaching them not to upstage the scenery-chewing hamminess of their frequent That '70s Show co-star, Ashton Kutcher.
CORRECTIONS: · A reader e-mailed to tell us the man featured with the chimp in the photo we used is an upstanding animal trainer, and has nothing to do with Sid Yost. We apologize for any confusion, and have replaced the photo with the above, from The Onion, and captioned "Chimp Actor Looking To Direct."
· Another reader wrote to tell us chimpanzees are in fact apes, not monkeys. We hang our heads low in simian-ignorance-shame, as we stuff bananas into our mouths.