Matthew Morrison's 'heart is broken' over alleged animal abuse on movie set

"I've called the producers to express my outrage," he wrote.

March 17, 2018, 10:50 AM

Former "Glee" star Matthew Morrison has decried the alleged animal abuse that took place late last year on the set of his upcoming film "Crazy Alien."

The actor took to social media to make it clear that he did not know that a dog had been allegedly mistreated during filming and added that he has made his feelings known to producers.

"I’ve just been made aware and seen a video from the set of a film I worked on in China. My heart is broken to see any animal treated this way," Morrison tweeted Friday. "Had I been on set or known about this, I would have made all efforts to stop this. I’ve called the producers to express my outrage."

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a whistleblower has claimed that a German shepherd was locked in a cage, suspended 20 feet in the air and then plunged into a river. The organization also shared a video of the alleged incident.

"The director took many takes and this was just awful to witness as the torment went on," the witness told PETA. "I could not believe my eyes."

A representative for director Hao Ning has not responded to a request for comment.

ABC News received a lengthy statement Saturday from the film's production company, apologizing for the alleged behavior on set and promising to investigate the incident.

"We sincerely apologize for any animals that were mistreated on our set," the statement began. "We always strive to treat all cast and crew, human or animal, with the utmost respect, and are deeply troubled by the reports of an animal in distress on our production. There is no excuse for any failure to fully account for the welfare of any animal brought into a film, and we will be conducting a full review of our live animal practices and safeguards going forward."

"We also welcome this opportunity to open up a much-needed dialogue on live animal film practices in China," the statement continued "We have reviewed the footage and discussed the shoot with cast and crew who were present, and hope that the following details can help address at least some of the concerns that have been raised regarding these scenes: There were two shot set-ups for the dog in the reported scene. In the first, the dog is just supposed to be suspended in the air, safely in the cage. This was controlled using a wire harness and was completed without issue."

"In the second set-up, the dog and cage are supposed to move up and over the water, without submerging. The first time this set-up was attempted, the height was miscalculated and the cage fell into the water. Then, before fully diagnosing the mechanical problem, a second take was requested. This was a mistake. The dog’s welfare should have been paramount, and any potential risks should have been diagnosed and eliminated before the dog was again called upon to undertake the scene."

"We sincerely apologize," the production company said in the statement. "Following a second failure in this shot set-up, the crew changed plans and shot an empty cage falling into the water. This scene will eventually be composited as a CG shot. Despite mistakes in filming, the dog was well cared for on set. Its owner was present throughout the filming, and full accommodations were provided for its comfort and safety. Nevertheless, no explanation can excuse any distress caused to this innocent animal on our set, and we are deeply sorry."

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