John Cox, one of the many Republican candidates in the running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom, threatened with dismissal in an upcoming referendum, caused a sensation Tuesday, May 4, by inviting a brown bear to his meeting.
The candidate has indeed decided to campaign on the theme of “the beauty and the Beast”, “the beautiful” being for him the Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, renowned for his Hollywood smile and his cinema physique, while he himself presents himself as “the beast” which will shake up the Californian political routine. “Pretty politicians failed in California”, launched the candidate during a meeting in Sacramento, the administrative capital of the state. “We need big, bestial changes to save her. I’m going to cut taxes, make California more affordable and shake up Sacramento ”, he assured.
Complaint from animal rights activists
The brown bear is also the symbol of California and features prominently on its flag. For his publicity stunt, John Cox used a kodiak bear, considered the largest bear species. In this case, it is an animal called “Tag”, around 500 kilos, born in captivity and trained to appear in films and series. Visibly placid in character, Tag was content on Tuesday to wait patiently for the end of John Cox’s speech, nibbling on treats given by his trainer or making his toilet with great licks.
The use of the bear for political and advertising purposes has been strongly criticized by animal rights activists, such as the organization PETA which has ruled “Unhappy and ashamed that Tag the kodiak bear was exploited in this way”. “Bears should be left in peace, not held in an enclosure on asphalt and transported to events”, reacted the NGO on Twitter, urging “Anyone with an ounce of decency to keep wild animals out of their advertising operations.”
The number of 1.5 million signatures required to hold a referendum on the dismissal of Governor Newsom has been reached. No date has yet been set for the poll, which will have to ask state voters whether they want to replace Gavin Newsom and if so, by whom. It was thanks to such a referendum that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected in 2003 as the head of the most populous state in the United States on behalf of the Republican Party. Polls and experts believe Gavin Newsom should be able to keep his post, as California voters overwhelmingly voted for the Democratic camp in the last election.