01/14/2014 01:08 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

New York City Restaurant Bagatelle To Host Live Penguins For Seaworld Party, PETA To Protest (UPDATE)


By Danielle Tcholakian

MANHATTAN — A bash at a swanky Meatpacking District eatery will have two live penguins as the guests of honor, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said.

"Animal ambassadors Pete and Penny Penguin," who have been featured at previous SeaWorld promotional events including a partnership with Southwest Airlines, are set to appear Tuesday at Bagatelle at 1 Little West 12th St., according to an invitation obtained by PETA.

[UPDATE: Bagatelle canceled the SeaWorld party following the outcry.]

The group is planning to protest the invitation-only event for SeaWorld.

The invitation, provided to DNAinfo New York by PETA, is in honor of SeaWorld's 50th Anniversary. SeaWorld did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews reached out to Bagatelle Sunday after learning of the event to try to persuade the restaurant to cancel it, according to an email provided to DNAinfo.

"Loud DJs and flashing cameras may be alluring to your usual clientele, but they are terrifying to these arctic animals unaccustomed to being around humans, much less to being forced to attend a desperate, raucous publicity stunt," Mathews wrote to Cihan Yilmaz, assistant general manager of Bagatelle, and Jonathan Segal, president and CEO of The One Group, which owns Bagatelle.

Mathews had not received a response as of Monday evening, said Ashley Byrne, a campaign specialist for PETA.

A woman who answered the phone at Bagatelle Monday said, "I don't have any information on anything like that." Messages and emails to managers were not immediately returned.

When DNAinfo emailed the RSVP address, a representative said the event was full.

PETA plans to start protesting outside Bagatelle Tuesday, ahead of the party's scheduled start at 6:30 p.m.