Controversial photographer Tyler Shields is at again. Last month, it was Heather Morris‘s “Bruised Barbie” photos. This time around, it’s photos of former The O.C. star Mischa Barton posing with raw meat that are causing a ruckus.
Apparently, after lunching with Barton at an In-N-Out burger joint, Shields got the idea for the raw meat shoot. He promptly purchased $65 of raw meat, some of which he used in the shots. The photos, which show Barton gnawing on raw beef, as well as laying a slab of it across her face, were posted to Shields’s website on Monday. PETA immediately took notice, and issued a written statement chastising both the actress and the photographer.
According to TooFab, the PETA statement reads, “This raw meat stuff is getting old and may not only hurt and kill cows, it may hurt Mischa, because so much meat is infected with salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter that licking it is like licking a toilet. In addition to this being completely unoriginal, it’s completely callous — flesh from a tortured animal isn’t a joke, isn’t camp, and isn’t cool. Meat is full of blood, is produced with violence, and causes great suffering. So if that’s the look they were going for, too bad: They could have taken a leaf out of the playbooks of Pamela Anderson and Alyssa Milano, two PETA pinups who have shown off their natural beauty in outfits made of lettuce leaves for PETA’s “Let Vegetarianism Grow on You” campaign.”
TooFab also posted a response from Shields, who said, “I did not kill the cow, I just bought the meat. If they feel like I should be using lettuce instead of meat, I will see if I can work that into something. I don’t attack them for being non-meat eaters so I hope they can respect my choice as a human to eat it.”
Not only did he not kill the cow, Shields also made sure the meat didn’t go to waste. Per Eonline, after the photoshoot, he hosted a barbecue for friends to use up the remaining pieces (although he did toss the one that Barton had already chewed on).
As for Barton, her reps have yet to comment.
So, what do you think? Valid artistic vision or promotion of cruelty? Is PETA having a cow over nothing, or do they have a legitimate complaint?