Organizers of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Parade in New York City inadvertently caused a controversy by selecting Joan Jett and her band to appear on the state of South Dakota's float.
While the pairing might seem innocent enough, it turns out that cattle ranchers in South Dakota were less than thrilled with the choice because of Jett's well-known ties to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), animal advocacy and a vegetarian lifestyle.
“When we learned that about Miss Jett, we were rightly concerned about her representing South Dakota and a state that is so heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock production to drive our economy,” Jodie Anderson of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association told a CNN reporter.
Jett, who says she had no intention of using the affiliation to push an animal rights agenda, nevertheless agreed to sidestep the controversy and transfer to another float.
“I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment-driven event,” Jett said in a statement. “I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”
Orlando Veras, Macy’s parade spokesman, told the Associated Press that a new performer will be chosen for South Dakota's float.
“The parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate, or other forms of advocacy, no matter how worthy,” Veras said in a statement. “Macy’s intention is only to provide a range of entertaining elements and performers free of endorsements or agendas.”
The whole thing is a bit of an embarrassment for the South Dakota cattle industry. By bringing up the issue publicly, they opened the door for PETA to step in and use the moment to its advantage.
”Thanks to South Dakota’s reactionary ranchers, people across the country have learned why Joan Jett supports PETA. The meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty,” PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews said in a statement.
The 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off at 9 a.m. on Nov. 28.
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