Rebel Wilson's New Reality Show Is Stirring Up Controversy With Activists (Read: PETA)

Rebel Wilson Pooch Perfect
(Image credit: ABC Youtube)

ABC may be trying to sell “scruffy to fluffy” in the new dog-grooming competition show Pooch Perfect. Pink dogs and a hilarious host in Rebel Wilson – what could go wrong? Well, Pooch Perfect has only just premiered, and it's already stirring up controversy with animal rights activists and PETA.

The Pooch Perfect reality show is like the Top Chef of dog grooming competitions. There are 10 teams, crazy challenges and a $100,000 grand prize. But it’s those very same challenges that ask dog groomers to cut and dye the dogs’ hair into various spellbinding looks that are causing the controversy. According to PETA, the most well-recognized group for animal activism, the reality show is endangering animals. The group’s senior manager of animals in film and television, Lauren Thomasson, told The Wrap:

Dogs are smart, loyal individuals — they’re not here for human amusement, and unfortunately, shows like Pooch Perfect can encourage people to restrain their dog and reach for the dye, even though doing so runs the risk of causing an allergic reaction that could even be fatal, in addition to stressing the animal.

PETA’s statement reflects the backlash that has been growing for Pooch Perfect for some time. Many viewers have pointed out that the practice of dyeing dog hair is potentially dangerous. One Twitter user wrote:

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The debate about the Pooch Perfect reality show, and its Pitch Perfect host by proxy, also concerns the idea of if it is truly “celebrating” dogs or just using them as live art canvases without pause for concern. As one Twitter user put it,

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The dogs featured in the show are definitely subjected to outlandish styles and colors. One poodle was dyed magenta on all four legs. Another dog was dyed orange and black to emulate tiger stripes. One viewer even claimed that this kind of grooming is an "atrocity," and that the dogs “deserve dignity and to be treated humanely.”

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One of the biggest shockers about Pooch Perfect is that Lisa Vanderpump is one of the three judges of the competition. Not only is she an owner of an animal shelter and foundation Vanderpump Dogs, but the Vanderpump Rules executive producer has also been an adamant proponent for animal rights. In 2018, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star even testified before the House of Representatives to pass a resolution against the cat and dog meat trade. So it is rather surprising that Vanderpump wanted to be attached to a project like Pooch Perfect. This isn’t lost on viewers, either. As one put it, why would Vanderpump want this?

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As for the PETA organization, it is not one to let these matters concerning animals slide quietly. It has, in fact, been very vocal about the safety of animals on other productions. In their statement about Pooch Perfect, the spokesperson also stated,

PETA reminds animal guardians that dogs love us just the way we are — and we should respect them enough to do the same for them.

Neither Rebel Wilson nor the network has commented on the reaction to Pooch Perfect. But regardless, the reality show appears to have bit off more controversy than it can chew.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.