SeaWorld counters 'Blackfish' attack

8 musical acts canceled performances at park after movie's release


ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on Friday lashed back at what it calls activist propaganda surrounding "Blackfish," placing full-page ads in some of the largest newspapers in the country.

The Orlando-based company placed the ads in USA Today, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among others.  In an "Open Letter from SeaWorld's Animal Advocates," the company defends the way SeaWorld cares for its whales. 

The ad does not identify the recently released documentary "Blackfish," a small-budget film that chronicles the capture and captivity of Tilikum, the 6-ton killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010.

After the movie's release, eight musical acts, including Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood and Heart, canceled performances at SeaWorld Orlando's annual "Bands, Brew & BBQ" concert series.

In the full-page ad, SeaWorld highlighted "important facts" about its work, including:

  • SeaWorld does not capture killer whales in the wild.
  • We do not separate killer whale moms and calves.
  • SeaWorld invests millions of dollars in the care of our killer whales.
  • SeaWorld's killer whales' life spans are equivalent with those in the wild.

The open letter ends by saying, "The truth about SeaWorld is right here in our parks and people. Our guests may enter our gates having never given much thought to the remarkable animals in our oceans. When they leave with a greater appreciation for the importance of the sea, educated about the animals that live there and inspired to make a difference, we have done our job."

Since the release 'Blackfish,' 8 of the 10 acts that were scheduled to perform at SeaWorld have canceled, saying 'Blackfish' is to blame.

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