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.”
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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