SeaWorld has been under severe media scrutiny recently for the mistreatment of their iconic killer whales. The documentary film, Blackfish, premiered on CNN and follows the company’s history of killer whales in captivity, particularly a 12,000 pound orca named Tilikum. After watching the documentary myself, I am appalled by SeaWorld’s cruelty. Many viewers share my response and have backlashed against SeaWorld. Entertainers have been canceling performances at SeaWorld, schools have boycotted going on field trips and animal activists everywhere are taking action to help set the orca whales free. I highly recommend checking this documentary out (it’s on Netflix).
Since the film came out last year, SeaWorld has taken several steps to defend their actions. Immediately following the film’s release, before it became mainstream, SeaWorld partnered with Mattel to create a SeaWorld penguin trainer barbie and a SeaWorld Shamu trainer barbie. The commercials were launched in hopes to maintain SeaWorld’s brand equity, but as of now, were very unsuccessful in doing so. Many have encouraged Mattel to stop selling the doll and are disappointed that the doll projects and supports a company with negative values onto children.
Only recently has Blackfish become a nationwide controversy. In their most recent response to the film’s reprisal, SeaWorld purchased full-page ads in newspapers nationwide. Attempting to defend their actions, SeaWorld tries to show their employees as animal lovers and advocates. The ad never apologized for SeaWorld’s behavior and never acknowledged Blackfish.
The one thing that SeaWorld is not doing is providing a solution. At the end of the day, this behavior is digging SeaWorld into an even deeper hole. The advertisements are clearly not helping the situation. Instead of putting out ads in their defense, they need to do something to fix the problem. Some schools have pledged to stop spending money at SeaWorld until they change their practices. Instead of remedying the issue at hand, they are denying any wrong doing, which is only upsetting people even more.
“Killer Whale Health & Daily Care.” SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Pearson, Michael, and Martin Savidge. “SeaWorld Takes out Ads to Defend Itself against Whale Mistreatment Accusations.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.