Comedian and actor Mike Epps has been dealing with backlash in the wake of incorporating one into his Detroit show last Friday at Joe Louis Arena. Epps, who is known for roles in various projects including “The Hangover,” invited zoo owner and exotic animal handler Javon Stacks on stage with a kangaroo.
A video shows the comedian and the handler with the kangaroo, which is held upright. Epps tugs on the kangaroo’s harness before the animal appears to throw his paw back toward the star. Epps then runs off the stage. Video of the incident went viral on social media over the weekend, with some accusing Epps of animal cruelty.
On Sunday, Epps posted an apology on his Instagram account, stating he doesn’t “own the kangaroo and did not mean any harm to the animal it got outta hand.” “I am sorry and like I said I will be donating money to this foundation (to) save the kangaroos,” he wrote in the caption of a photo of the trademark for Viva, an association dedicated to the protection of the animals. “Sorry if I offended anybody.”
A rep for the U.S. Dept of Agriculture told TMZ the agency wants to make sure the kangaroo was not being mishandled during the show. The rep says the Animal Welfare Act requires all handlers to be “in control of the animal at all times.”