By Jeff Labrecque
April 18, 2011 at 02:38 PM EDT

Though I hate to admit it, there’s something funny about a monkey who smokes. (Don’t blame me! Blame The Simpsons!) So I don’t fault director Todd Phillips for telling journalists that the monkey in The Hangover Part II, who’s shown smoking smoking cigarettes and snorting cocaine, had become hooked on the cigarettes. After reading some bizarre headlines, however, Phillips felt obliged to clear the air, telling Movieline:

“This was a joke. I make comedies. If you read the story, it doesn’t even make sense. “On the set of her new film, she won’t stop smoking cigarettes.” Umm. Really? Maybe just take them away from her. Or at least take her money away so she can’t buy them any longer.

When you are doing press for a film, it tends to get repetitive, lots of the same questions over and over. Sometimes I like to mix it up with the journalists. Obviously, the monkey in the film NEVER smoked a single cigarette. There are people on set whose sole job is to protect that monkey. Even if I wanted her to smoke it wouldn’t be allowed. By the way, she also appears to do cocaine in the movie, but I guarantee you that she didn’t do that either (I can’t, however, comment on Ken Jeong’s cocaine use in the film).

Sorry for the confusion, but it definitely is a funny headline “PETA pissed after Todd Phillips gets Hangover 2 monkey addicted to cigarettes.” Definitely one for the office wall.”

PETA never actually did get involved with this most recent controversy, thought PETA’s primatologist Julia Gallucci says that they wrote Phillips a letter in November asking him to use CG animals instead of real wild animals for his Hangover sequel.

But clearly, the next story’s headline is: “KEN JEONG’S COCAINE HABIT NEARLY DERAILS HANGOVER 2.” Will Phillips need to clarify his first clarifying email?

Read more:

Bill Clinton and Charlie Sheen do NOT have cameos in ‘The Hangover 2’

‘The Hangover Part II’ trailer: Three men and a monkey

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