SeaWorld's reputation has been in deep water since 2013, when "Blackfish," a documentary accusing the sea park of mistreating animals and trainers, was released.
Now a former SeaWorld trainer who was interviewed for "Blackfish" has a book out reiterating many of the stories of abuse, injury and death. And SeaWorld has decided to play hardball.
The company released a five-year-old personal video showing the trainer, John Hargrove, using the n-word a number of times while talking to a friend. He sounds drunk and, yeah, pretty racist. Not only is he using the n-word frequently, he follows it up with high-pitched imitations of (we presume) black guys talking.
It's pretty ugly stuff, and it's forced some cancellations of stops on Hargrove's book tour.
But we're hard-pressed to see how this negates the accusations against SeaWorld, which is being pretty disingenuous about the whole thing. U-T San Diego reports:
SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said in [an] email that “we believe it is important that you see this video we received just this weekend from an internal whistleblower.”
“Anyone interviewing the “Blackfish” star should certainly be aware of it,” Jacobs said in the email. “We are offended by John’s behavior and language. The video is particularly reprehensible since John Hargrove is wearing a SeaWorld shirt. SeaWorld would have terminated Hargrove’s employment immediately had we known he engaged in this kind of behavior.”
While we have no doubt SeaWorld believes it is "important" that people see this video, we don't see how it's relevant to the claims against SeaWorld in Hargrove's book or in "Blackfish," which:
... tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
Shocking footage. Emotional interviews. Cruel treatment. But none of it must be true because he said the n-word!
This is the Scientology method: Full smear attacks on critics, including harassment and intimidation. Maybe that's the next step for SeaWorld.
We don't think it's gonna fly. Or swim.
Check out the "Blackfish" trailer below.
This story, "SeaWorld goes all Scientology on former whale trainer who wrote critical book" was originally published by
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