CWI calls for a boycott of the film "The Greatest Showman", which is a glamorized telling of the story of the notorious exploiter of both humans and animals, P.T. Barnum. Far from a factual history, the film, starring Hugh Jackman, is meant to be an inspiring "against all odds" tale of a man who turned his dreams into reality. However, what it does not share is the abuse and suffering Barnum caused countless beings in order to obtain his notoriety.
Barnum exploited indigenous peoples, individuals who were deemed to be not "normal", and countless exotic animals. His use of the bullhook on elephants has been documented as far back as 1873, when he was questioned by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty.
As one of the first individuals using and abusing exotic animals in the U.S. within traveling entertainment, he spawned a vile industry that has caused the suffering and death of countless animals. Let us not celebrate this with a gaudy musical, but write Barnum off as part of a shameful and dark period in human history.