|Peter Jackson (Reuters photo)
Director Peter Jackson took another swipe at animal rights campaigners on the day he premiered his first The Hobbit film in New Zealand, insisting he wouldn't let the red carpet protesters "spoil" the event for fans.
Activists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a public war of words with the moviemaker this month following complaints from four wranglers who worked on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the trilogy.
Jackson denied their claims that animals suffered abuse and died as a result of incompetence during the making of the films, and he spoke out again on Wednesday as the first blockbuster received its world premiere in Wellington.
A number of protesters demonstrated outside the event, holding up placards which read, "3 horses died for this film" and "The Hobbit: Unexpected Cruelty".
During a press conference, Jackson insisted he wouldn't let the protests overshadow his big day, telling reporters, "(There was) absolutely... no mistreatment, no abuse... At the end of the day we've made a movie we're extremely proud of. So many people have worked for so long, it will take a bit more than that to spoil the event...
"You have got a very radical, political organisation that has jumped on this and personally it's an insult to anyone who worked on the film... We care about what we do, we care about all the animals."