PETA Vice President Dan Mathews will be at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables, 8 p.m. May 2. Here's a news release about him:
As the world’s most visible champion of animal rights, Dan Mathews has been as admonished for his strong beliefs and irreverent style as he is admired for his guts and passion. His colorful crusades often land the PETA VP behind bars—or enlisting stars. For two decades he has made animal rights the “it” cause, with campaigns such as “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur,” which have made activism relevant for today’s escapist society. “Mathews’ greatest insight is his seemingly intuitive understanding that causes are as much about trendiness as they are about conscience,” wrote New York magazine. In 2006, PETA, with over a million members, was named in a Label Networks poll as “the #1 charity that 13-24-year-olds would volunteer for,” beating out even the Red Cross.
In COMMITTED: A Rabble Rouser’s Memoir (Atria Books; April 17, 2007; $24.00; Hardcover, ISBN: 0-7432-9187-5), Mathews presents a remarkably candid and wildly entertaining account of his unconventional life and incredible tenure as one of the world’s most famous firebrands. Filled with stories ranging from the hilarious to the horrific, Mathews reveals how his devotion to fighting cruelty stems from the gay-bashing he endured as an adolescent, and how he managed to pull off some of his most outrageous, controversial, and effective campaigns. Mathews stopped GM’s crash tests on animals after taking over the company’s float in the Rose Parade dressed as a rabbit; he halted Gillette’s animal tests after impersonating a janitor and wheeling a television into the executive cafeteria to show videos of the gruesome experiments; he impersonated a priest to gain entry into a fur designer’s fashion show in Milan, taking over the runway with a banner reading, “Thou Shalt Not Kill;” and he was pelted with luncheon meats by pig farmers while promoting vegetarianism in cattle country—dressed as a carrot.
Among Mathews' topics of discussion:
· How getting beaten up as a youth sensitized him to the plight of animals, and how it helped him develop a thick skin for the lifelong adversity he faces as a controversial activist
· How he conceived his most provocative protests; he’s been jailed around the world in odd costumes and sometimes nude. After inciting a riot at a KFC in Paris to protest the company’s live-scalding of birds in defeathering tanks, he was hauled to a psychiatric ward where he had to prove his sanity in French (as amusingly described in the title chapter of “Committed”).
· How using celebrities can keep a cause on the pop culture radar; Mathews works closely with Pamela Anderson, Sir Paul McCartney, Pink, Chrissie Hynde, and many others
· What PETA stands for and how its views are embraced, spurned and sometimes distorted
· How to motivate the public—especially young people—in an increasingly apathetic culture
Always frank and unafraid to offend, Mathews’ antics are bound to make COMMITTED one of the most talked about books of the season. We hope you will take this opportunity to speak with him: Mathews will be on tour this April and is available in studio or via phone. Please let me know if you’d like more information or to schedule an interview. I look forward to speaking with you soon.