SANTA ANA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas of TLC performs at the Beach Goth V Music Festival at the Observatory on October 22, 2016 in Santa Ana, California. (Photo by Matt Cowan/Getty Images)
Photo: Matt Cowan/Getty Images
Photo: Matt Cowan/Getty Images

TLC’s Chilli Thomas stars in PETA ad against Atlanta-based UniverSoul Circus

TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas is part of a new ad campaign for PETA that blasts Atlanta-based UniverSoul Circus for alleged animal abuse.

Thomas sits on a circus pedestal with a ball and chain wrapped around her ankle with the words “Sad. Lonely. Broken.” above her photo and calls for UniverSoul to “end animal acts.”

In a video accompanying the print ad, Thomas, a native Atlantan, speaks out about circuses that use animals.

"Before being educated myself, I had no idea what the animals went through behind the scenes," she says. "They're … in prison, and no [one] wants to be locked up. They can't really go outside and roam the way they are supposed to naturally."

Circus giant Ringling Bros. shut down in 2017 due to a combination of declining ticket sales, expensive operating costs and costly legal battles with animal rights groups.

According to PETA, Fulton County animal control officers have documented numerous animal welfare issues with UniverSoul, including an injured zebra, wounded camels and a wounded elephant.

The AJC contacted UniverSoul, which provided the following statement: 

The UniverSoul Circus believes that all animals are entitled to humane treatment and should never be mistreated or abused in any way. All of our animal vendors are subject to regulation by federal, state, and local animal welfare authorities. We care about the well-being of each of the animals that travels with and performs in our shows, and we regard all of them as valued members of our performing cast delivering high quality, family friendly entertainment that brings joy, happiness and laughter to audiences around the world.

Thomas previously appeared as a "caged tiger" in an anti-circus campaign for PETA.

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.