Exclusive: Vicki Gunvalson Gives Up Fur After PETA Finale Flap
The RHOC star, who wears fur in the finale, "was horrified by the cruelty" shown in animal rights video.
On tomorrow night's big Real Housewives of Orange County finale, there's more drama than you can shake a diamond-studded cocktail at (seriously, that exists in this episode), and while Vicki Gunvalson is on the receiving end of the night's big blowout, her appearance in the episode also sparked some controversy with PETA thanks to her fur coat.
Upon seeing a clip of the episode, the animal rights group passed along a video about the horrors of the fur industry to Vicki, and its impact resonated with her -- quickly. And almost just as swiftly, Vicki has responded and in turn decided to never wear fur again. In her complete statement given only to The Dish, Vicki explains how she came to this decision:
I'd like to Thank My Fans for supporting me, and always being there for me.
Earlier today, PETA (www.peta.org ) released a statement I’ve worked with them for the last week to announce. I want to take this opportunity to share a little more about how I came to understand the importance of this statement.
Growing up in the sixties and seventies, women I looked up to were stars of television and films, they were beautiful, glamorous and successful. Successful women role models were really just emerging for young women of my generation; it was a simpler time but full of exciting change. There were dreams every girl aspired to.
I have been blessed in many ways with great success and yes, some hardships along the way. I have always been driven to succeed. From my first lemonade stand where my dad was my biggest customer, to the day I created COTO Insurance twenty years ago, I have always dreamed big and worked hard to make my dreams come true for myself and my family.
For a woman of my generation, there were always certain signs of success, and I was driven to achieve them. From my first luxury car I was able to afford from my commissions working in insurance, to taking care of my family, I have always wanted the best that life could offer. I have always tried to do the right thing, and inspire others.
The world has changed and I must change as well. Fur, while it was never something I needed or specifically wanted, it was in my mindset as something glamorous and a sign of success for a woman. That is no longer the case.
When PETA sent me video footage of investigations on fur farms, I was horrified by the cruelty involved. These animals endure terrible pain and this cruelty is something I do not want to ever be a part of. After seeing what happens in this industry, I have chosen to partner with PETA to raise awareness and will not wear fur in the future.
Nothing can bring back the animals that were killed for their fur, but one way to honor their lives is through PETA’s fur coat giveaway program in which fur coats are given to the homeless to provide people in need with warmth.
I hope my fans who were unaware of this cruelty will see my change of heart and join the millions of people around the globe who shun fur.
I want to encourage my fans to be comfortable in their own skin, not that of an animal who has endured tremendous suffering. China is the world's largest exporter of fur and fur that comes from China is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there's no way of knowing for sure whose skin you're in.
It’s also important to note that as a result of PETA’s undercover investigations exposing cruelty on fur farms, renowned designers including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, Marc Bouwer, and Vivienne Westwood, have ditched fur and pledged never to use it in their collections.
Get ready for the tear-filled finale with a little teaser clip below.