Aussie star Rebel Wilson is known for leaving her audience in stitches, but not everyone was laughing on Sunday when the comedian uploaded a controversial video to her Instagram page.
The actor, currently in the midst of a very public health journey, shared a video taken at the Sydney Zoo in the city’s Western Suburbs in which she did a set of squats using a wombat as a weight.
“Wombat squats!” the star wrote in the caption. “Thanks to the team @thesydneyzoo for organising this fun workout and education sesh about some amazing rescue animals.”
While many of the Pitch Perfect star’s fan loved the video, others couldn’t help but point out perhaps the animal involved didn’t find it quite so funny.
A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson) on
“Is it really needed to grab a hold of a wombat!?!” one wondered.
“Love her but what is she doing?” another wondered. “This is not educational. If anything the complete opposite of what you should do with a wombat.”
“[100%] animal exploitation,” another wrote. “I thought better of her. Maybe just a silly mistake and not thinking!”
World Animal Protection says Rebel video ‘appalling’
It wasn’t just fans reacting either. World Animal Protection released a statement slamming the video as ‘appalling’.
Executive director Simone Clarke explained in a statement shared with Yahoo Lifestyle that while it seems light-hearted, the kind of manhandling seen in Rebel’s video is known to be ‘distressing’ to marsupials.
“We are disappointed to see Rebel Wilson handling Australian wildlife with such disregard for their wellbeing,” she wrote in a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Wombats are not a photo prop or plaything; they are sentient beings, and experience distress when handled by humans.”
She also slammed the zoo, who she says should know better than to use animals in ways that could be upsetting.
“It’s appalling that Sydney Zoo endorses this type of promotion – quite frankly they should know better,” she wrote.
Rebel Wilson has been contacted for comment.
World Animal Protection tell Yahoo Lifestyle selfies with animals should be approached with care, sharing a handy list of do’s and don’t when it comes to posing with wildlife.
Don’t take a wildlife selfie if:
The animal is being hugged, held or restrained
The animal is being baited with food
The animal could harm you.
Do take a wildlife selfie if:
You are a safe distance from the animal
The animal if in their natural home
The animal is free to move, and not captive.
Rebel’s Fitness Journey
The star has recently stolen headlines with her incredible fitness journey she is sharing with fans.
The star has opened up recently about pressure she felt to maintain an unhealthy diet and size from industry bosses, but says this year she is putting her health first.