PETA under fire for TikTok campaign against Animal Crossing fish tanks - Dexerto
Animal Crossing

PETA under fire for TikTok campaign against Animal Crossing fish tanks

Published: 20/May/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun


PETA has used fish in Animal Crossing for their latest virtual protest and, in doing so, somehow angered thousands of animal-lovers and gamers alike.

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, appears to have mistreated Animal Crossing and, once again, whiffed on an effort to strike a topical chord with today’s culture.

In their latest gaffe, the organization shared a TikTok video in which they mounted a virtual protest at Blathers’ museum, picketing with signs and yelling at the game’s beloved museum curating owl to “empty the tanks!”


Instead of the viral support for a “cultural reset” they presumably hoped for, the organization has been met with general condemnations of simple misguidedness and more specific shots at their hypocrisy in a classic example of a popular Twitter account getting ‘ratio’d.’

For one, Blathers is an owl, making his harassment feel…misplaced. For another, people have pointed out that, in order to protest at all, PETA would have had to catch the fish and offer them to Blathers’ museum—hypocritically breaking their own vegan guide to Animal Crossing.


It’s like wanting to protest someone wearing a fur coat and, to do so, killing a litter of adorable minks, crafting the coat, and then pouring red paint upon yourself. 

The whole thing just feels like a reach and one in the wrong direction. Yes, animals deserve advocacy, and, outside of the obviously inhumane fur industry, there is legitimate discourse to be had surrounding hunting, meat consumption, and wildlife captivity.

But, as many have pointed out, Animal Crossing is a video game. While people live amongst anthropomorphic animals, they also get into some fishing and bug hunting. If PETA believes that gaming behavior can be intrinsically problematic for the real world, then wait until they find out about Call of Duty. Then, wait until they hear about some this year’s Academy Awards winners: Parasite, Joker, and 1917.

Tarantulas are scary, but people will catch them in Animal Crossing for money and sport.


This isn’t PETA’s first attempt to strike out at gaming content instead of real-world abuse; their 2012 Pokemon Black & Blue flash game—in which players played as Pikachu and battled against abusive trainers—is the most popular example.

And this latest campaign is, again, a miss. The organization has over a million followers on Twitter and Instagram apiece, but, at the time of writing, they’ve managed to hit just 2,760 on TikTok. 

This is surprising for an app so dominated by Gen Z, a generation known for its activism and environmentalism. But it speaks to tone-deaf messaging. While the organization has followed their video up on Twitter by calling their Animal Crossing campaign “tongue-in-cheek” and mocking people “crying about PETA raiding islands to free the fish,” they continue to miss the mark.

PETA’s Pokemon Black & Blue, a parody Flash game from 2012.


Although it may be exaggerated, the video is not at all tongue-in-cheek as it simply reiterates their earlier article about the game. And no one is complaining about them raiding islands, no one even thinks that they are raiding islands—since whoever’s island it is must be the one to put the signs down themselves, thanks to Nintendo’s griefing rules. 

PETA has most certainly succeeded in raising pitchforks for their “#BlathersIsOverParty,” but those pitchforks have been pointed at their uncouth marketing instead of a pixelated owl.

Animal Crossing

Why Animal Crossing’s hairstyles are dividing the community

Published: 23/Nov/2020 14:45

by Alice Hearing


Animal Crossing: New Horizons players appear to be quite divided on one part of the new winter update, as it allowed for a more inclusive range of hairstyles.

On November 19, Nintendo enabled the game’s winter update. Excitement has revolved around new hip reactions that will let them sit on the ground, do workouts and yoga, like many have seen their villagers do on their islands.

The content refresh also includes six new hairstyles: afro, afro puffs, cornrows, buzz cut with faded sides, voluminous curls, and even a bald look. New additions have been a welcome change for people of color playing the game, who wanted to see themselves represented.

Previous versions of the game came under fire for a lack of representation. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, some players were forced to play around with the tan feature to give their characters their actual skin tone.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons hairstyle winter update
Nintendo added six new hairstyles to the game in its Winter update

While New Horizons finally represents a far wider variety of skin tones, players felt that not enough had been done for representation and even created a petition in August asking for more inclusive hairstyles.

The campaign ended in victory, but the update has actually been dividing the community on Twitter. A debate has erupted as to whether it can be deemed cultural appropriation if white players use some of the new hairstyles.

It all began on the day after the update launched when user stardewleaf tweeted an image of a white in-game character with what they called “Space buns”. It has sparked a huge debate with many people taking offense that a white user was using a hairstyle added to represent people of color.

One user responded: “They’re not space buns, they’re afro puffs made for POC”, while another explained why people had taken offense, adding: “The reason people are p**sed off is because we don’t really have a lot of hair options that represent us in Animal Crossing, and you do. Then you specifically choose that one, despite what you others pick from.”

Another person defended the style, saying: “As a white person with curly hair, these could in fact be what a white girl’s bun looks like. They’re both afro puffs and buns, games are games.”

Several other people commented that they felt the debate as a whole was ridiculous and trivial: “No one who gets mad at another person enjoying a hairstyle in a video game is worth listening to.”

The original tweet now has more than 5,000 responses and the number still continues to grow.

In general terms, the decision to have additional hairstyles and more representation incorporated into the Animal Crossing world has been a popular move.