Slithering serpents, put that python handbag away, Reese Witherspoon!
The Hollywood star has fallen foul of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), after she was snapped sporting a designer $3820 Chloe Paraty bag made from python skin - the sale of which is illegal in California.
According to Radar Online, the popular snakeskin has been banned from sales in California since 1970, so Witherspoon must have bagged her accessory from outside the state.
"No matter how much Reese paid for that bag, the animals paid a much higher price," said a Peta spokesperson in a statement.
"Every year, millions of snakes are impaled on hooks or nailed to trees by their heads and skinned alive," the statement continued.
"Hoses are inserted into the mouths of large snakes - like pythons - and their bodies are pumped full of water to loosen their skin so that it will cut away more easily.
"The animals' peeled, writhing bodies are then discarded, and it often takes days for the animals to die from the effects of shock and dehydration. We can't imagine that she'd wish to contribute to this hidden suffering, especially for something as frivolous as a fashion accessory that can be replicated with no bloodshed.
"These days, it's easy to have a look that kills without killing - with fake snake, mock croc, python pleather, and other designer items that pay tribute to the beauty of these animals without massacring them."
But Peta, who, rather ironically, crowned Witherspoon one of their Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities in 2006, hoped the actress was merely ignorant of the plight of pythons.
"We can't imagine that she'd wish to contribute to this hidden suffering, especially for something as frivolous as a fashion accessory that can be replicated with no bloodshed," the statement added.
"These days, it's easy to have a look that kills without killing, with fake snake, mock croc, python pleather, and other designer items that pay tribute to the beauty of these animals without massacring them."
Well, that's her told. Boo hiss, indeed.
Update: The handbag is history, folks.
"Thankfully, Reese has just informed Peta that she will no longer carry the bag," says Peta in a new statement.
"We've long known Reese to be a kind person, so we're pleased - and not surprised - that she is hanging up her python bag for good," added the statement.
"We hope Reese's honest mistake will serve as a reminder for all of us to be extra-certain that what we're buying is mock crock or fake snake."
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