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PETA Suggests Mixing George Clooney Sweat with Tofu to Help Animals

By March 13, 2009

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Here’s some news about a taste-treat sensation that probably won’t be sweeping the nation anytime soon.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has earned a reputation for confrontational tactics and provocative celebrity ads that promote vegetarianism and protest fur as fashion, now wants to mix actor George Clooney’s sweat with tofu to create a not-quite-vegetarian treat called CloFu.

A Taste of Celebrity
It all started when a PETA supporter snagged Clooney’s sweat-soaked towel from a gym in Washington, DC, and offered it to the animal-rights group as a potential auction item. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk had a better idea. After first checking with scientists at both Purdue and Cornell universities, who assured her that extracting Clooney’s perspiration from the gym towel and mixing it with tofu was no more difficult than “making artificial chicken flavor for instant gravy,” Newkirk sent Clooney a letter [pdf] asking for permission to use the sweat of his brow in service to animals.

"The technology actually exists to take your perspiration and make it into George Clooney-flavored tofu (CloFu). We could do that and give the tofu away. Of course, your fans would swoon at the idea of eating CloFu, but what interests us most is that we would attract many people who don't try tofu because they worry that it would be bland or that they wouldn't know how to cook it. CloFu will help people be healthier and more environmentally friendly and will spare animals from being killed for the table.”

Mission Accomplished
It's hard to say whether Newkirk has correctly judged the public’s hunger for tofu lightly spiced with the essence of George Clooney or any other celebrity—even though her letter did include a few serving suggestions—but she was certainly on-target about the media’s appetite for an offbeat news story. Newkirk’s CloFu proposal to Clooney has gotten a lot of play in the press and, of course, that was really the point all along.

Newkirk, who described herself and her PETA colleagues as “big fans” of the Oscar-winning actor and social activist, told Clooney she hoped the idea for CloFu would “amuse you too.” Apparently, it did, but not enough for him to grant permission for PETA to start whipping up batches of sweat-laced bean curd.

Responding through his representatives to an inquiry by The Washington Post, Clooney, his tongue firmly in his cheek, said: “As a mammal, I’m offended.”

Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

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March 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm
(1) D says:

I’ve defended many of PETA’s wacky publicity stunts over the years because they brought attention to important animal rights issues. But I can’t defend this one. This is just a publicity grab on PETA’s part, and has nothing to do with helping anmals. Despite Newkirk’s letter to Clooney, I don’t think this promotes tofu as an alternative to meat.

March 16, 2009 at 3:11 pm
(2) Tom Head says:

Devil’s advocate mode: I actually think this is brilliant from a vegan PR perspective because it shows the versatility of tofu vs. meat. If you can make tofu taste like a specific celebrity’s sweat, you can make it taste like just about anything–whereas there’s no kind of meat that’s versatile enough for that kind of flavor-specific engineering.

But speaking as somebody who went vegetarian for a year and still eats a good bit of tofu, I would argue that the finished product will probably end up tasting very little like George Clooney’s sweat. Tofu absorbs flavors really well, but not THAT well.

But then who would know the difference? It’s sort of like the tofu that was manufactured a few years ago to resemble and taste like human “meat”–other than cannibals, who would know whether it was seasoned accurately or not?

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