MEDIA RELEASE: Disney Cancels Cruel Aloha Rodeo Film After Receiving 13,000 Complaints

MEDIA RELEASE: Disney Cancels Cruel Aloha Rodeo Film After Receiving 13,000 Complaints

LOS ANGELES (August 2, 2021) — In Defense of Animals has welcomed news from Disney that it has canceled a film glamorizing one of the cruelest rodeo events of all time. Disney received over 13,000 emails from In Defense of Animals supporters to halt the production of a live-action film adaptation of the book Aloha Rodeo. 

Deadline reported in February that the Disney live action team was developing Aloha Rodeo for Disney+. Chris Kekaniokalani Bright was set to adapt the book, and Jeremy Latcham was to produce.

David Wolman and Julian Smith’s Aloha Rodeo follows three Hawaiian cowboys who, in 1908, traveled to Wyoming to compete in a steer roping competition at what is still one of the most brutal and deadly rodeos in the world. Steer roping sees a cowboy on horseback chase down a terrified steer, lasso him with a rope noose, and stop short so the steer is knocked to the ground with incredible force. The cowboy then dismounts and runs to bind the steer's legs together.

Steer roping often results in severe injuries and deaths. It is so cruel and dangerous that several states have banned the event.

In Defense of Animals launched a campaign on May 6 to stop the production of Aloha Rodeo and received an overwhelming response from its supporters. In Defense of Animals supporters made calls and comments on social media to Disney Studios, and sent 13,336 emails to Alan Bergman, Chairman of Disney Studios, and Alan F. Horn, Chief Creative Officer of Disney Studios Content.

In a July email to In Defense of Animals, a Global Communications representative for The Walt Disney Studios wrote: “We wanted to let you know this project is no longer active.”

“We are thrilled that Disney heard our call. Its decision to cancel Aloha Rodeo will be met with relief by animal lovers around the world,” said Fleur Dawes, Communications Director for In Defense of Animals. “We have been spared a film that would have injured animals on set and glorified the inherently violent rodeo industry, which encourages adults and children to harm animals for fun and inflicts lethal injuries on bulls for entertainment. Disney has recognized the cruelty of rodeo through its decision to nix Aloha Rodeo.”

Disney has an enormous cultural influence and has the potential to do immense good. It would be impossible to overstate the positive impact animal films such as Bambi, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp have had on society. The decision to cancel the Aloha Rodeo project is a milestone in Disney’s commitment to fostering respect for animals. 

Learn more about rodeo cruelty at


Contact: Fleur Dawes,, 415-879-6879


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.


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