Filmmakers’ “Rewind” Strategy Tells Story of Mobs of Kangaroos Killed for Athletic Shoes

AWA leaders talk with Gavin Polone as he and director Derek Ambrosi retrace a supply chain stretching from Australia to consumer markets everywhere

Just days after the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action launched a campaign to urge Nike and other major athletic footwear makers to shed the skins of kangaroos in their products, tennis great Serena Williams told a phalanx of reporters at a post-match news conference at the Australian Open that she would never eat kangaroo meat.

Williams’ moral distaste for kangaroo meat was just the latest high-profile athlete or Hollywood star to speak out on the mass slaughter of kangaroos in the wild for commerce — for their flesh for food and their skins for shoes.

Just days before Serena’s impromptu comments, Ricky Gervais, Woody Harrelson, Zoey Deutch, and Lea Thompson had shared a short film, by producer Gavin Polone and director Derek Ambrosi, with their social media followers that lays bare an element of Nike’s supply chain that stretches thousands of miles and involves the ongoing killing of kangaroos in their native habitats.

Using reverse sequencing, the film by Polone and Ambrosi begins with a soccer player’s shoe kicking a ball into the goal, chronologically looking back through the retail supply chain and manufacturing process, to the Australian outback where wild kangaroos are shot and stripped of their skin — for soccer shoes. This “instant replay” of the companies’ long supply chain makes it clear that Nike and other athletic shoe companies deserve a red card for their role in the largest terrestrial wildlife slaughter on the planet — with two million kangaroos and joeys killed each year.

“I wanted to expose the bloody truth that is being hidden from well-intentioned consumers who may have no idea how their ‘K-leather’ shoes are being made,” said Polone. “Nike can no longer hide its responsibility for this atrocity.” The film concludes by noting that “Nike Profits. Kangaroos Die.”

In the latest Animal Wellness Podcast, we talk to the long-time animal advocate and major Hollywood producer who contributed the film to our global campaign. The 60-second short film steers clear of graphic footage, but nonetheless hits with the force of line-drive penalty kick.

Polone’s other work includes Gilmore Girls, Panic Room, A Dog’s Journey, and Zombieland 2: Double Tap. Ambrosi is known for being the editor of Premium Rush, Mortdecai, You Should Have Left, and director of video collaborations with Jay-Z, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sean Puffy Combs, and John Mellencamp.

Just days after the release of the short film, U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., introduced the Kangaroo Protection Act, H.R. 917, to ban any trade in the U.S. in kangaroo parts.

The truth is, the killing of two million kangaroos would not happen but for the trade in their body parts. When Nike and other companies stop buying the skins, this commercial enterprise very likely collapses. And then, and only then, can kangaroos live another day.

Wayne Pacelle is the president of Animal Wellness Action and two-time New York Times Best Selling Author of ‘The Bond’ and ‘Humane Economy’

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