People are hopping mad at comedian Mike Epps, who appeared on stage with an apparently agitated kangaroo during a show Friday in Detroit.
Video taken by audience members show a handler holding the animal on a leash as Epps joked around and held onto the kangaroo’s leash while he danced. At one point it appeared the kangaroo punched at Epps, who took off running.
TMZ reports the handler also carried the animal around the stage when it looked like it tried to run off the stage. Several people in the audience were angry, TMZ reports, calling the incident animal abuse.
Javon Stacks, the kangaroo’s handler, had a different story. He told TMZ the animal was not harmed and the harness it was wearing is preferable to a collar that could hurt it.
Stacks made news last week when a video showing him running with a leashed kangaroo through a Detroit neighborhood instigated an investigation by Detroit Animal Control and police, and concerns from the Michigan Humane Society.
According to MLive.com, the video generated hundreds of knee-jerk responses on social media where people assumed the kangaroo was stolen or owned by a “crackhead.”
Stacks told MLive.com the animal belongs to his traveling educational animal show called Exotic Zoo, and they were in town for a birthday party.
“It was for a birthday party a couple weeks ago,” Stacks told the website. “There’s not enough room in someone’s home to bring a kangaroo, so we stepped outside.”
He takes the mobile zoo to homes and schools so people can experience animals up-close.
“Inner city kids’ parents don’t have enough money to go to the zoo or transportation to go to the zoo,” Stacks told MLive.com. “When schools invite us … we perform in the gymnasium.”
People didn’t know that when they saw him and the kangaroo on stage with Epps, several of whom complained on social media.
After the show Epps posted a video of himself in a friendlier moment backstage, feeding a banana to what appeared to be a different kangaroo. The post was later deleted.
Epps issued an apology on Instagram Sunday, along with the logo of Viva, a UK animal rights group. He pledged to donate money to the organization.
He included this hashtag: #imadeabadmistake.