Banksy committed animal cruelty in his movie "Exit through the gift shop."

by Mary Cummins on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 2:08pm
Elephant in exhibit
I just watched the Banksy documentary “Exit through the gift shop.” There is a scene in there where he painted an elephant for his exhibit. In the movie he said he painted her with “12 liters of children’s face paint.” That is an absolute lie. He used red poster paint meant for wood and paper only as the base paint. He then added gold metallic paint. That paint was meant to be used with a barrier product and only to be left on for three hours maximum. Banksy left the paint on the elephant for days. In fact he would not let the elephant lay down and sleep for days so she wouldn’t mess up his paint job. 
Paint used on elephant
Tempera paint made for posters and wood. Only non-toxic if used according to label. Must use with paintbrush onto paper and wood only. Not for skin.

Cinema Secrets, for professional use only. Must be used with barrier cream. Cannot be on longer than three hours.

Another photo in the exhibit. Notice the painted toe nails.

September 15, 2006 Banksy had an art show in Los Angeles. He rented an elephant from “Have trunk will travel” for his exhibit. He painted this elephant bright red with gold stenciled markings. He painted her eye lids, ears, trunk, tail, belly and private parts. I received many complaints when animal lovers saw the elephant on the news for the VIP grand opening. I’m sure this animal cruelty was intentional guerilla marketing for his show. He did the same to farm animals, click here for story.

Elephant in 105 deg trailer
The next day I went down there to see for myself. I went through the Humane Academy and Police Academy to become a Humane Officer. The elephant’s owner let me look at the elephant and the box of paints. I photographed the labels of the paints. It was red poster and wood only paint and Cinema Secrets gold metallic paint. The owner told me they weren’t allowing the elephant to lay down so she wouldn’t mess up her paint job. Every day they would still touch up her paint.

From a skin painting website. “Non-Toxic” does not mean “safe for skin.” Acrylic craft paints are not meant to be used on the skin – nor are watercolor markers or pencils. Just because the package says “non-toxic” does not mean that it is safe to put on skin. Many people are allergic to the non-FDA approved chemicals and colorants used in craft paints (such as nickel), and will break out in a rash from these paints. Watercolor markers (or “washable markers”) do not remove from skin easily – it can take days to get the stain removed. The “washable” part of the name refers to fabric, not skin.”

They go on to say not to use glitter paint on skin. That is why the gold paint was for professional use only by a makeup artist. It was to be applied over a barrier cream and not kept on longer than three hours, on humans, not animals. People have become very ill and even died from using regular  paint on their skin. They die from  nickel and silver poisoning from the paint besides allergic reactions and over heating.

Elephant has cracked toe nail
I went home and wrote a report about the paint. I gave it to the GM of Animal Services. He verified the report then called the owner and told her she must remove the paint. It took two days but they finally removed the paint. The elephant was still in the exhibit but without her paint. A report was filed against the elephant owner to the USDA for allowing her to be painted with wood and paper paint. People contacted Banksy’s management about his act of animal cruelty. He left the country and didn’t respond. 
After washing paint off
I’m in the movie, the red head with the pony tail. I was inspecting the elephant and the paint.

Report filed by Bill Dyer of In Defense of Animals with the USDA.

Contact the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Science at http:// and let them know that you don’t think a film that includes animal cruelty should be up for an Academy Award. This documentary is nominated for an Academy award. People are saying they believe he will win. Here are some email addresses for you to send in a complaint.,

A few years ago “Have trunk will travel” had a problem with one of their other elephants.

“June 10, 2001: Spooked Circus Elephant Charges, Knocks Over Child at the Denver Zoo – Hope, an 18-year-old, 6,700-pound Asian elephant, was frightened by a falling water drum as she and a smaller elephant named Amigo were being washed. Startled, Hope slammed her trainer, Jim Williams, into a wall and knocked over Amigo. She then stepped over a 3-foot barrier and took off on a run. The child was knocked from her stroller as Hope came running down a path. The child’s mother, who has not been identified, said she believes her daughter was hit by the elephant’s trunk but is unsure if Hope also hit the stroller. The girl was treated at Children’s Hospital for minor injuries and released, said Fire Department spokesman Randy Atkinson. Williams received cuts and bruises, a man sprained his ankle, and a woman suffered an asthma attack while running away from the elephant, Atkinson said. It took almost three hours to get Hope back into a pen. Amigo and Hope were brought to the Denver Zoo by Have Trunk Will Travel, owned by Gary and Kari Johnson of Southern California.”

Here is “Have Trunk Will Travel,”

Back in 2003 Banksy painted some live farm animals in an exhibit called “Turf Wars.” They became ill and had to leave the exhibit. Banksy stated he wanted to continue to show the exhibit. He’s also painted rats and roaches in the past.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

About Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Real Estate Appraiser

Mary Cummins is President of Animal Advocates. She is licensed with the California Department of Fish & Game, USDA and the City of Los Angeles to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Cummins speaks to local community groups and students about respecting wildlife and humane wildlife control. She is also a Humane Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. She has written manuals on small mammal rehabilitation besides numerous articles. She was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Beverly Hills Good Shepherd Catholic School and Beverly Hills High School. Besides being a member of Junior Mensa and on the Dean's list, she was a top ten national swimmer and competed on the men's water polo team. She began college at the age of 15 attending the University of Southern California on scholarship, majoring in Psychology/Sociology. After college Cummins became a licensed real estate agent specializing in income property in Los Angeles. She obtained her real estate appraisal license, real estate brokerage license and currently does real estate consulting, expert witness testimony and review appraisals at Cummins Real Estate Services.
This entry was posted in animal, animal advocates, banksy, cruelty, elephant, hsus, mary cummins, peta. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Banksy committed animal cruelty in his movie "Exit through the gift shop."

  1. bottleHeD says:

    This is kinda sad…

  2. Anonymous says:

    no big deal. – Banksy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Prove it. You claim to have the photos, so prove it! Where are the "labels" you claim to have photographed? Surely they would be here to support your story if you truly had them…Put or shut up, you deranged woman.

  4. Anonymous says:

    it was childs face paint

  5. Anonymous says:

    These photos are not from the same elephant… the elephant used in the exhibit did not have its toe nails painted… certainly a detail not overlooked by Banksy as the coloration of the toenails would have a significant impact on the overall appearance of the animal, but the cracked toenail elephant is painted…Additionally, it wouldn't be of Banksy's doing if the animal had a cracked toenail. There is no gold on the foot of the cracked toenail and there was on all four feet of the elephant used for the exhibit. I know that Bansky does not leave his paints laying around, no good artist does, and if he had, they would have been confiscated by enthusiasts looking to re-sell them as Banksy memorabilia and widely publicized. I don't think there is substantial evidence that there is truly animal cruelty involved in this situation and have never understood why people got into such an uproar about it. Who rented the animal out in the first place? Why is the fact that this animal is allowed to live in LA not considered cruelty in it own merit, but when it is colored up with children's face paints and celebrated it is called animal cruelty??

  6. Anonymous says:

    You said that you photographed the labels of the paint. Can you please upload those photos? Thank you.

  7. This is the exact same elephant. There are many photos of this elephant. Check them out. I was at the event. You can even see me in his movie walking around the elephant area. I was there when two young men touched up the elephant's paint in front of me. They would touch her up every morning. That's why he left the paint there. They painted the elephant in a locked area behind the building with security around. I was allowed in to inspect the elephant. It was not children's face paint. It was paint meant for wood and paper only. Banksy is a liar. He lied in his movie. He also committed animal cruelty.

  8. I just posted photos of the labels of the paint. I also posted another photo I took of the elephant in the display. Notice the painted toenails. All of these photos and my report went to the USDA and Animal Services. Once Animal Services saw that it wasn't childrens' face paint, they forced the owner to wash the paint off.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I committed animal cruelty. I'm an asshole. I'm also a hypocrite and a sell-out. The only time people come to see my art is when I abuse animals. I like to wear masks in public because I'm not just ugly on the inside, but the outside as well. I deserved to lose because my film wasn't even a documentary. It was pure fiction. ~Banksy

  10. Robbie Lott says:

    Whoever you are, Anonymous, you are an idiot!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    BTW, it didn't win. He was making a statement. Too late. It's a documentary on his art. You think they would take it down because it has "animal cruelty" in it?

  12. deni says:

    Could this not be the paint that he used for the walls? I am purely asking as I wasn't there and only have the images and footage from the documentary to go off of. Did the elephant ever get sick? What is the status of the elephant he used? Shouldn't that be a contributing factor of this issue? Its amazing the point he was trying to make got completely ignored, which was somewhat of an important message as well, because of this fiasco… Though animal health shouldn't be used for our art or messages, but if the elephant is fine, think the saying goes, no harm, no foul.

  13. The elephant's skin was very irritated after they washed it off. The elephant is Tai from "Have Trunk will Travel." She is in the new elephant movie "Water for elephants." Undercover video show the owners using bull hooks to train the elephant. The movie is about cruelty against elephants, ironic.

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