'Life of Pi' AHA Monitor Leaves Job After THR Email Exposes Tiger 'Damn Near Drowned'
The Life of Pi on-set monitor who emailed a colleague that King, a Bengal tiger, "damn near drowned" on set has left the American Humane Association.
Gina Johnson, whose April 7, 2011, email kicks off The Hollywood Reporter's 9,000-word "Animals Were Harmed" investigative package, is no longer an AHA employee, the organization told CNN Tuesday, a day after the story hit newsstands and was posted online.
Johnson's email reads "The worst thing was that last week we almost f---ing killed King in the water tank. This one take with him went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side. Damn near drowned. … I think this goes without saying but DON'T MENTION IT TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICE. I have down-played the f--- out of it."
The AHA has not yet responded to THR's request for information about the circumstances surrounding Johnson's departure.
In a statement released late Monday, the AHA said THR's investigation "distorts" its work, and cited internal statistics that it maintains a safety record of 99.98 percent.
In THR's story, the AHA’s internal critics insisted that number is farcical, with no real statistical grounding. They claim the aggregate overall ratio is purposefully inflated by the inclusion of high volumes of impossible-to-count insects -- "Think of days where you’re using, say, 10,000 worms, 10,000 cockroaches, 50,000 ants, 25,000 beetles," one employee explained -- while the number of injuries or deaths is under-reported because the organization doesn't account for those that occur while an animal is in transit or at a holding facility (as opposed to specifically on set).
A colleague adds: "It's a total B.S. number made up for PR purposes."
A Fox spokesman denied the tiger nearly drowned. "The tiger, King, was never harmed and did not 'nearly drown' during the production," the spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter. "We take on-set safety very seriously and take every precaution necessary to ensure that no one -- animal or human -- is harmed during the production of our films."
Watch CNN's report on The Hollywood Reporter's investigation below.