Following death threats, a San Francisco art museum has canceled a controversial exhibit that included video clips of animals apparently being bludgeoned to death. "We remain committed to freedom of speech as fundamental to this institution, but we have to take people's safety very seriously," said the president of the San Francisco Art Institute. "We've gotten dozens of threatening phone calls that targeted specific staff people with death threats, threats of sexual assaults."
The show by Algerian-born artist Adel Abdessemed opened in mid-March. It included clips showing a pig, goat, deer, ox, horse and sheep being bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer. "This is a snuff film about animals," said one angry activist. The artist said the videos were shot at a Mexican farm that slaughters animals in such a way. Museum officials characterized the exhibit as a social critique.