Nigel Barker's latest humanitarian effort is saving the baby seals in northern Canada who are hunted annually, legally, and brutally for their fur. He blames the Canadians, who allow the hunts, and the Norwegians, who own 90 percent of seal processing plants in Canada, for the plight of the darling creatures. He told Gothamist earlier this week, "'[I]f the demand goes down, then the supply [has no nowhere to go]. If we can't stop the Canadians, we can try to stop the Norwegians.'" Last night at the opening party for the photography exhibit "A Sealed Fate" (which documents the seal pups at birth) he said that comment sparked a lot of backlash. "Oh they hate it," he said. "The backlash is one thing — you’re always going to have commentary. I get backlash when I vote a girl off of America’s Next Top Model, you know? I've got people that are angry with me, but this is very important. These animals have no one. I saw this with my own eyes. I was there and I watched what was going on. And quite frankly, all those young men that have seen this — it’s extraordinarily dehumanizing. Their job is go out to a small animal and whack it over the head with a club. And quite frankly, I think I’m doing them a favor."
Barker visited the seals for the birth and the hunt. The preceding Humane Society spokesperson on this matter, Paul McCartney, only went to the birth. "A lot of people can’t do it because it’s [hard] visually seeing it. And I’m a young guy. He’s older than me and it’s just different. You can only be out there for like five hours at a time. It’s brutal," Barker explained. "It’s not a vanity project. It isn’t about that. It’s so much about what can we do, what difference can I make." On to, well, more cheerful topics, Barker has a baby on the way! A little girl, actually. We just had to know if, if Brangelina-type bidding by the tabloids ensues for the first photos of the new bundle of joy, he plans to share them with the world. "It’s impossible not to," he replied. "Just the other day we were walking down the street and people see you and take photographs of you. I don’t mind it." —Jonna Humphries