Chris Brown and Swae Lee‘s animal dealer Jim Hammonds has had his Animal Welfare license terminated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The move comes after PETA submitted a complaint to the USDA about Hammonds, who also goes by “The Monkey Whisperer,” outlining his previous convictions including felony conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
The exotic animal dealer pleaded guilty in March 2022 to federal charges related to the illegal sale and transport of primates — including his sale of a capuchin monkey to Chris Brown for $12,650. Hammonds was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay more than $90,000 in fines for violating federal wildlife laws.
In 2017, PETA alerted California officials to Brown’s unlawful possession of the capuchin, which resulted in the animal’s seizure by the state. Brown faced two misdemeanor charges but reached a plea deal that saw him avoid jail time; he was ordered to pay $35,000 toward the capuchin monkey’s care.
It is also believed that Hammonds sold two spider monkeys to Rae Sremmurd‘s Swae Lee. After PETA alerted California wildlife officials to the “Sunflower” hitmaker’s “unlawful possession” of the animals, at least one of them was seized by officials.
“Exotic animals are not pets, playthings, or props for celebrities, and they’re not business transactions, either,” PETA’s Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott said in a statement. “PETA is celebrating the USDA’s decision to strip this felon of a license before he could exploit additional vulnerable animals.”
PETA also encouraged anyone who sees exotic animals being exploited by celebrities on social media to forward any evidence to the animal rights organization.
Meanwhile, on the music side of things, Chris Brown last month shared a previously unreleased song featuring a famous Michael Jackson sample.
The singer took to Instagram to post a nearly two-minute long snippet of the Hitmaker-produced song, titled “Transparency.” In the caption, Brown revealed he hasn’t been able to release the song due to a sample of MJ’s “The Lady In My Life” appearing throughout the track.
Brown’s post came just weeks after his cancelled AMA’s Thriller tribute.