Why Dakota Johnson Is PETA's Latest Target

Dakota Johnson stars in a new ad campaign for Gucci's Jackie 1961 handbag. PETA claims the bags are made with authentic reptile skins and sent an open letter to the Fifty Shades of Grey star to convince her to stop endorsing the bags. PETA has repeatedly called out high-fashion brands for using authentic reptile skins for their products.

Earlier this week, Gucci released a new campaign featuring Johnson modeling the new Jackie 1961 bags, which are inspired by the late First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The fashion brand published several photos of Johnson in all-Gucci gear on its Instagram page. The new Jackie 1961 handbags are also available on Gucci's website, and they retail between $2,400 and $31,000. The most expensive is made with crocodile skin.

In its open letter, published by TMZ, PETA pointed to its recent investigation of an Indonesian slaughterhouse that sends skins to Gucci. "Workers were caught on camera bashing reptiles in the head with machetes and hacking at their necks up to 14 times before they were decapitated for their skin," PETA celebrity outreach principal Jessia Shotobani wrote. PETA notes that the way snakes are killed is so cruel that the sale of the Gucci bags should be banned by California law.

"Gucci's use of exotic skins and your promotion of its products are extremely damaging," Schotorbani wrote. PETA asked Johnson to "pledge to stop wearing and promoting exotic-skin fashion items," noting that there are vegan alternatives to python and crocodile skin readily available.

Johnson, who surprisingly has not posted the new Gucci campaign on her own Instagram page, and Gucci have not commented on the situation. Johnson's grandmother, actress Tippi Hedren, is an animal rights activist who runs the Roar Foundation and animal sanctuary Shambala Preserve, which cares for exotic big cats. In May 2020, Johnson said Hedren still had about 13 or 14 lions and tigers. "By the time I was born they were all in huge compounds and it was a lot safer," Johnson told Harper's Bazaar. "It wasn't as totally psycho as it was when they first started."

Johnson's new Gucci campaign was photographed by Glen Luchford, who framed the photos as if they were paparazzi shots. "I've always romanticized '70s fashion," Johnson told British Vogue earlier this week. "The shapes, lines, colors, and patterns. But also the vibe of the people wearing the clothes." She later said the Jackie 1961 bags are a "great size and is so chic."