Actor Zac Efron has been accused of “hypocrisy” after starring alongside a grizzly bear in promotional videos uploaded to his official Instagram account.
In a video uploaded in June to his 54.4 million followers, Efron said he had joined Kodiac Cakes as its chief brand officer.
The company, which uses an image of a grizzly bear as its logo, mostly produces whole-grain pancake and waffle mixes.
The video shows the former High School Musical star casually preparing pancakes in the wild, using a box of the Utah-based company’s mix, while a bear sits beside him.
“You know? I knew you’d always be a Kodiac fan,” Efron says, addressing the wild animal. “It’s because of the bear on the box, isn’t it?” he adds, while pointing his spatula at the product.
Efron then serves the bear a pancake tower.
In a teaser campaign video uploaded by Efron a week earlier, he is seen sitting on a bench outdoors as a grizzly bear strolls into the shot.
The actor then engages in nearly two minutes of a one-sided humoristic conversation with the captive animal.
In a third video, and the latest to be uploaded to his account as of Monday, Efron asks his massive follower-base to purchase Kodiac Cakes merchandise, noting that “all sales go directly to the conservation of grizzly bears and wildlife habitats across the American northwest.”
The company has long advocated for conservation efforts.
According to its website, the company donates a portion of its profits to conservation efforts every year.
“We’re dedicated to encouraging healthy ecosystems, be it in your kitchen or wherever the frontier still thrives,” the company says.
But not everyone found Efron’s videos to be amusing, or the mission they claim to promote worthy.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has slammed Efron and Kodiac Cakes for their use of a captive animal to promote conservation efforts, according to a report by the TMZ entertainment news site.
“It’s hypocritical to exploit one animal to potentially help another. No true conservation group would ever force captive animals to perform tricks for the camera in order to raise awareness about their wild counterparts,” the animal rights group said in a statement.
The group urged Efron to take down the promotional videos or replace them with videos made with CGI technology.