|Stop Experimentation on and Exploitation of Chimpanzees| sent out a press release this year complaining that NBC’s ‘Today’ show was celebrating “50 Years of Bigotry.” As part of its 50th anniversary program, the show included several performing chimpanzees on the set.
The appearance by the chimpanzees was done to highlight J. Fred Muggs, a chimpanzee who was added a sidekick to original ‘Today’ show host David Galloway in 1953 when the shows ratings were in the doldrums (Galloway reportedly hated the idea, but it did boost ratings). According to SEEC,
Since the 1950s, great progress has been made in advancing civil rights for African Americans, the disabled, women and other oppressed groups in the U.S. The ‘Today’ show would not dare to celebrate the prejudiced of fifty years ago with regard to those groups, yet felt compelled to revisit its unacceptable exploitation of a young chimpanzee.
“Today” show celebrates 50 years of bigotry. Stop Experimentation on & Exploitation of Chimpanzees, Press Release, June 20, 2002.