Russian petting zoo sues video studio over 'erotic' video starring one of its raccoons

Thomas the raccoon in the video clip that's sparked the bizarre legal dispute.
Art-Msk/YOUTUBE

Thomas the raccoon in the video clip that's sparked the bizarre legal dispute.

A Russian petting zoo is embroiled in a bizarre legal dispute with a video studio that hired one of its raccoons to star in an "erotic" video.

The Moscow zoo says a deal was made in August last year for the raccoon, Thomas, to appear in an advertisement.

But zoo spokesman Viktor Kiryukhin told the BBC Thomas had returned to the zoo "traumatised" and "attracted to women's breasts", suggesting that the raccoon had been trained during filming to associate breasts with treats.

Thomas the raccoon and the lawsuit that's been filed over his appearance in an "erotic" video.
TEATRZOO.RU

Thomas the raccoon and the lawsuit that's been filed over his appearance in an "erotic" video.

After seeing video featuring a naked model on social media, the zoo complained and asked for all images of Thomas to be withdrawn, but the request fell on deaf ears and the zoo instead filed a lawsuit. The suit includes a claim for compensation for damages to the raccoon, whose behaviour since filming had upset female staff.

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The zoo shared this photo on its website showing campaigners with a banner that reads: "Down with exploitation of ...
TEATRZOO.RU

The zoo shared this photo on its website showing campaigners with a banner that reads: "Down with exploitation of raccoons in videos!"

"It took two to three months to change his behaviour. Now he is happy again… but he was sad before," Kiryukhin told the BBC.

Video firm Art-Msk told the BBC the lawsuit was "absurd", claiming the raccoon stole a model's bra from the set.

The company's marketing manager, Valery Bogatov, denied the video was erotic, saying it was designed to be shown on federal television.

According to Russian blog site tjournal, Bogatov has threatened to counter-sue the zoo, including a claim for the damaged bra.

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