Since the release of “Blackfish,” SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has been trying its very best to counter the facts exposed in the documentary. The company has written letters to film critics, released a statement to CNN prior to the documentary’s screening on the network, taken out ads in newspapers, and also launched a website called “SeaWorld Cares” with an open letter from SeaWorld “animal advocates” detailing how much they do for their orcas.
Being a billion-dollar company, these types of PR stunts were to be expected. However, SeaWorld is at it again, this time with the release of another open letter titled, “Truth about Blackfish.” The letter is accompanied online by two video clips featuring brief interviews with SeaWorld trainers — one with current trainer, Holly Byrd, and another with former trainer, Mark Simmons.
While SeaWorld thinks it’s revealing some new truths about the film, all of their new PR guns are clear indicators that they are avoiding a real debate on the topic and a real look at the true, underlying issue of marine mammal captivity.
“Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite along with the team behind “The Cove” (i.e. Oceanic Preservation Society), wasted no time in responding to SeaWorld, releasing an official statement in response to the company’s new anti-Blackfish campaign yesterday.
In their letter, they address SeaWorld’s false claims yet again and shed a light on the truth. But beyond this, they invite SeaWorld to have an open debate with their teams:
We challenge SeaWorld to debate these issues with our teams in a public forum, which we will be happy to arrange. Throughout the production and theatrical release of “Blackfish,” SeaWorld has refused to directly engage with the film or its points in any public way, despite repeated invitations. Instead of releasing more PR spin, written statements and online critiques (which often allow no comments), we encourage SeaWorld’s leaders to step forward and address these issues openly and honestly in public debate. Let the public hear both sides of the argument (as we have always desired) and draw their own conclusions.
Time will tell if SeaWorld will take Cowperthwaite and the makers of “The Cove” up on the offer, but in the interim, we will surely see more push back from the company.
However, SeaWorld, we regret to inform you that your PR stunts are not going to work. Maybe some will believe the new videos you’ve put out along with your statement, but none of these can erase the cold, hard fact that marine mammals do not belong in captivity, enclosed in concrete pools for the rest of their lives.
To read the full statement from the teams of “The Cove” and “Blackfish,” please click here.
Image source: woolennium / Flickr