Did Kevin Costner Trick PETA Into Promoting Yellowstone?

Someone sent PETA a picture of a dead cow from the set of the Yellowstone TV show. That’s it. That’s all they have.


Fox News: Kevin Costner's 'Yellowstone' accused by PETA of mutilating animal carcasses

That’s all they needed, because the one thing PETA is good at is grabbing headlines. The idiots in the media know that idiots like me are always gonna click on a PETA headline to see what those idiots are up to. Which makes me wonder, did the folks working on Yellowstone send this picture to PETA knowing that they would get national headline news?

If they did it is marketing genius. The picture simply shows a bloated dead cow that’s been chewed on, probably by coyotes or wolves. You can see the fence around the cow is electric meant to keep the predators away. Of course the people at PETA know nothing about cows or animals in general so they have no idea what they are looking at. In PETA’s statement they say, “According to the whistleblower, some of the dead cows appeared to have been hacked apart in their hindquarters and necks, while others were likely left to rot in the sun or manipulated in order to make them appear bloated.” Maybe they were, “hacked up or manipulated,” but I think they more than likely were just left there for a while, because that is exactly what a dead cow that has been left over night would look like, that end is the one predators start on.



PETA also states, “When crew members expressed concern and questioned why fake cows weren’t being used instead, they were essentially shrugged off.” I’m going to assume, “shrugged off,” means they were told dead cows are much cheaper and easier to find than fake ones. Montana’s full of cows and likely has plenty of cows that died from natural causes lying around. I bet I could make a couple phone calls and have some located within a matter of minutes. If the folks on Yellowstone were smart that’s probably what they did.

The Ethical Treatment of Dead Animals

If there actually is a whistleblower on set, I would like to instruct them in the one thing they can do to make this dead cow more comfortable. Dear whistleblower, you have to poke it in the belly with a sharp knife. Its the only way to release the bloating at this point. And after you have poked it and she is deflating you need to stay close by and whisper sweet nothings into its ear while petting it, to make it feel better. Also remember to take big deep breaths. (I’ve spent a lifetime smelling the worst smells imaginable and releasing a bloat still tops the list. I’ve never popped a dead one though, can’t be much better.)

Media Manipulation

Back to why the Yellowstone folks would send this photo to PETA. Ryan Holiday explains this kind of PR tactic in his book, Trust me I’m Lying, Confessions of a Media Manipulator. In it he describes how he promoted the movie, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, “I designed the advertisements, which I bought and placed around the country, and then promptly called and left anonymous complaints about them, (and leaked copies of my complaints to blogs for support). I alerted college LGBT and women’s rights groups to screenings in their area and baited them to protest our offensive movie at the theater, knowing that the nightly news would cover it. I started a boycott group on Facebook. I orchestrated fake tweets and posted fake comments to articles online.”

When it comes to promoting TV and movies apparently there truly is no such thing as bad publicity. Remember when the bear in The Revenant raped Leonardo DiCaprio? Remember when one of the characters of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake was openly gay? Remember when the flag was not shown on the moon in First Man? All of those were rumors about movies that were completely false. Once those movies came out it became obvious how absurd the rumors were. All of them got national headlines and all of them increased curiosity about the films. Where they came from we will never know.

What Would John Wayne Do?

I’m not saying that Yellowstone PR leaked the photo to PETA. To be honest, I doubt they did. I’m saying if they did it would have been genius. PETA is the joke that everyone’s in on. Anyone that sympathizes with PETA will probably never watch a show about a cattle ranch, and people who despise PETA, which I think is the vast majority, are now curious about this Yellowstone show. What’s funny is PETA is getting what they want by making national news, what they don’t realize is a TV show getting their name in the national headlines is virtually priceless to a show like Yellowstone.

Another thing that PETA doesn’t realize is the golden opportunity they have given to Yellowstone. There is only one way to respond to PETA’s accusations, that is to tell them, to go to hell. Could you imagine that headline, Costner Tells PETA to Go to Hell. That would be a top of the front page of every website in the country. Nothing would get you more fans for your show about a cattle ranch than, growing a pair, standing up for yourself, and becoming an arch enemy of PETA. Whether Yellowstone decides to cash in on it remains to be seen. When it comes to creating a popular western there is but one question to ask yourself, what would John Wayne do?

I for one am happy to see the folks at Yellowstone striving for realistic accuracy. Please use more dead cows if you have to. Stop murdering 10 people per episode. Stop branding the Cowboys and go to branding cattle. The show is built around a very interesting story line, of the struggles of a ranch family. Keep it out of fantasyland and I will keep watching.

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