More on SeaWorld's slimy smear campaign against former trainer

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Credit: Josh Hallett via Flickr

Dear SeaWorld,

We can't help but notice your continual misuse of the word "whistleblower."

For example, in your initial attempt to smear former trainer John Hargrove following the release of his book accusing you of mistreating killer whales and their trainers, you said, "We believe it is important that you see this video we received just this weekend from an internal whistleblower.”

More recently, you released a similar statement published on the website of NBC's San Diego affiliate

“As we have said all along, ‘Blackfish’ star John Hargrove repeatedly provided statements that were misleading, false or in conflict with statements he made previously. As someone who might report on Hargrove and his book, we believe it is important you see this video we received from an internal whistleblower.”

The thing is, a whistleblower typically is defined as "a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity." That's the first definition that pops up on a Google search of "whistleblower definition." 

Now, we can find a broader definition, but let's be honest: A "whistleblower," in the most commonly accepted sense, is someone who calls out abusive behavior by a person or institution with power. Notice we said "behavior" and "with power."

In the video of John Hargrove being drunk and saying the n-word, it's not clear what power he wields, other than the offensiveness of the word, which he appears to be saying in his home during a private phone conversation that happened to be videotaped. 

You sure won't ever hear us condone that type of language. But if "whistleblowing" means calling out every person in this country who says racist things in private, we suggest you  buy a lot more whistles.

Better examples of whistleblowers would be Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg, Sherron Watkins -- and the people who participated in the making of Blackfish, that documentary about how a huge corporation forces large ocean animals to swim around and do tricks in the equivalent of a bathtub for the amusement of paying customers.

Which, at least to us, sounds like abuse -- and abuse of power. You might want to get your "internal whistleblower" on it.

This story, "More on SeaWorld's slimy smear campaign against former trainer " was originally published by Fritterati.