Chinese netizens call for boycott on new sci-fi comedy Crazy Alien for alleged dog abuse

Crazy Alien, a film adapted from sci-fi writer Liu Cixin's work and slated to be released during the Spring Festival holidays, is facing calls for a boycott by netizens and animal welfare organizations for alleged dog abuse during filming.

Crazy Alienis an adaptation of Xiangcunjiaoshi, or Village Teacher, a science fiction work by Liu, who won a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015 for The Three-Body Problem. The comedy depicts two brothers who hope to make a fortune from the unexpected arrival of an alien visitor.

Ahead of its debut on February 5, the first day of the Chinese New Year, many Chinese netizens said they would boycott the movie, and called for the movie to be withdrawn from theaters due to allegations that a dog was abused during production.

A widely circulated video shows a German shepherd was locked in a cage and dropped into a tank of water during the movie's filming.

The German shepherd is seen in a twirling cage that has been hoisted by a crane some six meters above the water. A malfunction and crew errors caused the cage to repeatedly fall into the water, according to a video first published by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) Asia, an animal rights organization, on its website on March 15, 2018.

Layla, an employee with PeTA Asia, told the Global Times on Monday that "the production engaged with the organization face-to-face after the incident was first exposed, but they have failed to provide details on the dog's current condition."

When asked if the organization would take further measures to protest the movie, Layla said they wouldn't, but stressed that this kind of animal abuse is unacceptable worldwide.

The movie makers should be ashamed and apologize to public for their wrongdoings, Layla said.

In an earlier statement on the movie's official Sina Weibo account, the producers said the scene was shot twice and the dog was accidently dropped in the water during a reshoot of the scene. Computer-generated imagery was finally used to complete the scene, the producers said.

Netizens are not buying the explanation.

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