Rave reviews continue to pour in for “Blackfish,” which has reached a larger and larger audience as it continues to air on CNN. The documentary has not only slammed SeaWorld’s treatment of both animals and trainers, but has caused the public to consider the question of whether or not whales should be in captivity at all.
Though SeaWorld has blamed “bad weather” for a drop in attendance at its parks, it’s pretty clear that “Blackfish” is taking a toll, something that SeaWorld knew might happen. Before going public, the company warned of risk factors as awareness grows, writing:
“An accident or an injury at any of our theme parks or at theme parks operated by competitors, particularly an accident or an injury involving the safety of guests and employees, that receives media attention, is the topic of a book, film, documentary or is otherwise the subject of public discussions, may harm our brands or reputation, cause a loss of consumer confidence in the Company, reduce attendance at our theme parks and negatively impact our results of operations. Such incidents have occurred in the past and may occur in the future. In addition, other types of adverse publicity concerning our business or the theme park industry generally could harm our brands, reputation and results of operations. The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years has compounded the impact of negative publicity.”
Even SeaWorld execs seem to know that the company just might be sinking, as director David D’Alessandro recently sold $1.3 million worth of his SeaWorld stocks. Speaking of their stocks, they are dropping. According to MarketWatch, SeaWorld shares are down 25% from highs this year, and sales for the quarter which ended June 30th were $255 million compared to $259 million in the same quarter last year. As SeaWorld points out, this was before “Blackfish” reached a huge audience, but the film was already raising concerns and there has also been damage done by David Kirby’s book, “Death At SeaWorld.”
It seems like people are not buying SeaWorld’s accusations that “Blackfish” is all lies and hype. SeaWorld refused to appear in the film, which reveals damning footage and reports from ex-trainers.
If you have yet to see “Blackfish,” it continues to air on CNN and will air next tonight at 9pm ET. Set those DVRs!