SeaWorld stock took a huge fall yesterday after they published their second quarter earnings, with stock dropping more than 30% and causing an onslaught of media attention. Dogwoof released the documentary Blackfish, which follows the story of Tilikum,a performing killer whale currently held in captivity at SeaWorld, last July and since then the 'Blackfish Effect' has caused many people to change their opinion on keeping orcas in captivity in marine parks like SeaWorld.
With revenue and attendance down, in its earnings report SeaWorld stated it "believes attendance in the (second) quarter was impacted by demand pressures related to recent media attention surrounding proposed legislation in the state of California", referencing the proposed Blackfish Bill. This bill is just one instance in a long line of events triggered by the release of Blackfish, from artists like Willie Nelson cancelling live gigs at SeaWorld, Pixar changing the ending of their upcoming film Finding Dory, and earlier this month the announcement that Southwest Airlines were ending their partnership with SeaWorld.
This morning the papers and news websites are full of stories about Blackfish and the SeaWorld stock plunge, for more detail and financial analysis read the links below.
Update 16th August SeaWorld have now announced that they will build new, larger environments for their killer whales. Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite responds below
Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite said the changes won't please the public or improve the lives of its whales. She said that in captivity the whales are forcibly bred, separated from their families and fight constantly for dominance. She added that the larger tanks may not mean the whales will have more room, as SeaWorld plans to expand to other countries and could use the additional space to breed the whales more often.
“I do appreciate the fact that SeaWorld is willing to admit that something is wrong, for the first time, but the problem is, instead of changing their business model, they’re doubling down.”
"None of this would change in a bigger pool," she said. "What people are upset about is that whales are not suitable to captivity."
Cowperthwaite said SeaWorld should instead create oceanic sanctuaries that will let the whales live out their lives in more natural environments.
Blackfish 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. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.
Blackfish is available to own on DVD and Blu-ray now, and can also be watched via iTunes or Dogwoof.TV. For a full list of links to watch the film wherever you are in the world, visit BlackfishMovie.com
The LA Times: SeaWorld stock falls 33% as orca controversy hurts attendance
IndieWire: Blackfish Backlash Hurts SeaWorld's Bottom Line
Buisness Insider: SeaWorld is Crashing
Time: SeaWorld’s Revenue Belly-Flops After Killer Whale Concerns