A painted donkey has some people calling for a boycott of Pink Taco. Seen here is a pink donkey featured in a 2007 YouTube video promoting the restaurant.
UPDATE on Sunday - 11:28 a.m.:Carole Davis, speaking for the Companion Animal Protection Society, says she reviewed video and photos of the stunt, and they have "determined that the donkey was in distress." Davis said her group will protest outside the restaurant Sunday, and demand an end to the use of live animals for promotional purposes.
UPDATE on Saturday - 1:07 p.m.: According to a statement released by Kristin Richards, media coordinator for PETA, Pink Taco’s owner Harry Morton has agreed not to use animals at their events and promotions in accordance with the pledge made to PETA back in 2008 when Morton used the same pink donkey stunt. Morton added that he is looking forward to discussing how he can work with PETA in the future, according to the statement.
Although Pink Taco's Facebook page was offline Friday, the Century City restaurant still had a presence on the social media website.
The Facebook group "Boycott Pink Taco Century City" earned its 1,000th member around 10 a.m. Friday.
The controversy centers on a donkey that was painted pink as part of a Cinco de Mayo promotion. According to the Facebook group's description, "These people spray painted a donkey and tied him to a post in 90-degree heat. This is not OK. Please boycott this restaurant." The restaurant had at least one similar promotion, seen in this YouTube video posted July 31, 2007.
"These people are just plain sick, cruel, and have a seriously distorted view of what sells and what's supposedly funny. I hope they're called to answer for their sheer cruelty and ignorance," wrote Angelique Montague.
"So Pink Taco decides to take down its Facebook and Twitter page to avoid the blowback from this incident. Sorry (Pink Taco), the animal rights crowd doesn't quite have the short-attention span you might be hoping for," wrote Roby Holland.
One business owner in Orange County "liked" the page in order to defend the restaurant but has since pretty much given up.
"I did want to voice my opinion, but then people started with the personal attacks," said Justin Henretta, who added some users threatened to boycott his business, too.
"If you look at the animal, I don't think it's suffering," said Henretta. "We've done worse to donkeys for centuries, loading them up with all the stuff we don't want to carry. I think people have too much time on their hands."
Henretta apparently isn't alone. On Friday afternoon, another Facebook page was launched: Boycott the Boycott-Pink-Taco-Century-City Page.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to Pink Taco as a Culver City restaurant. The correct location is Century City. Also, the above embedded video is from a similar promotion in 2007, not this year.