Animal rights campaigners are furious at reports a chimpanzee was beaten on the set of Christina Ricci's new movie.
The chimp was allegedly attacked after it bit an actor on the set of Speed Racer, which stars Ricci and Emile Hirsch.
And animal rights group People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are taking the claims seriously - officials have fired off a letter to film producer Joel Silver begging him not to use live animals in his movies.
The letter, obtained by WENN, reads, "We are in receipt of information that may upset you. We've received several troubling complaints from people who have been on the Speed Racer set and report that the main chimpanzee 'actor' has been beaten and has bitten one of the human actors."
But a movie spokesperson believes PETA bosses may have reacted too hastily, confirming a young actor was bitten, but strongly denying reports the chimpanzee was beaten, insisting, "Our company does not tolerate the mistreatment of animals... and there has been no animal abuse on the set of Speed Racer. An American Humane Association safety representative has been on set at all times when animals have been present."
But PETA isn't satisfied, adding in a second letter, also obtained by WENN, "No humane representative is closely monitoring those animals while off-set or during pre-production training - the very places where abuse is most likely to occur - so we regret to say that the assurances you offer are meaningless."