Katy Perry may have recently scored her third No. 1 album on the Billboard chart, but she is never one to stray too far from controversy.
The “Bon Appetit” singer has come under attack after a commercial in Australia in which Perry tells her pet dog Nugget to “go chase some koalas.”
The ad in question is part of an online campaign with Australian department store Myer to promote Perry’s tour in the country next year. But the controversial line has drawn criticism from the public and Queensland vet Claire Madden.
“This is just absolute ignorance from Perry and Myer,” Madden told the Courier-Mail newspaper. “[It’s] inappropriate on so many levels. Perry is a role model to so many young people, and this just destroys all the good work we do to try to encourage people not to let their dogs come into contact with koalas.”
Madden, a former Big Brother Australia contestant who is in the running to become Network Ten’s next Bondi Vet (a factual wildlife programme), went on to say that, “Koalas attacked by dogs is one of their biggest threats and primary reasons for presenting to wildlife hospitals across Australia.”
The RSPCA in Queensland reports having taken in over 170 koalas with 25% of those victims of dog attacks. According to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, approximately 110 koalas are attacked and killed by dogs each year.
“Katy Perry I challenge you to come and spend a day with me (a wildlife vet) and learn first hand why your comment should NOT be streamed across the nation,” Madden later posted on social media.
Myer now says they are working on removing the offensive comments from the commercial. A spokesperson for the retail giant told the Courier-Mail: “We are aware of comments in relation to Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour advertisement and a particular reference made to koalas. We are currently removing the material which references koalas.”
While Madden was relieved to hear Myer’s decision, she said the comment should never have received approval in the first place. “It’s great news that they’ve taken some action over this, although I’m still amazed as to how the marketing department could have let this comment feature on an ad in the first place. It’s sheer ignorance,” she told the Courier-Mail.
Perry, who has yet to comment on the incident, is currently in Australia promoting her upcoming tour and recently dropped a new lyric video for her single “Swish Swish.”