Less than 24 hours before the start of the event, New York City restaurant Bagatelle cancelled SeaWorld’s 50th anniversary party. What inspired the hotspot to kick the cruel marine park to the curb? A whole lot of correspondence from PETA and its supporters.
It’s not just the Blackfish controversy that inspired activists to make phone calls and send emails. SeaWorld was due to have live penguins as part of the festivities. As PETA noted in their original email, “loud DJs and flashing cameras” are “terrifying to these arctic animals unaccustomed to being around humans.” (Seriously, who on SeaWorld’s PR team thought that bringing live marine animals to a west village restaurant was a good idea amidst all the negative press?)
Remi Laba, one of the co-owners of the restaurant, responded to PETA’s original email by writing, “We were very disturbed by what you told us and have let the reps of sea world that no live animals will be let in our establishment and that we will cancel their event if this was meant to take place.” A few emails later, Laba informed PETA that the event was in fact cancelled, even though it was at a great financial cost to the restaurant. We love it when ethics outweigh profits and thank Bagatelle for choosing what was in their hearts rather than going by their bottom line.
PETA called off the protest and, instead, praised Bagatelle for its decision to cancel the event. “PETA is hanging up our protest placards and popping the champagne corks today in recognition of Bagatelle’s savvy business decision to put kindness ahead of profits,” says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. “Once compassionate people and businesses learn that orcas and other animals suffer at SeaWorld, they want nothing to do with this cruel and disgusting place.”
This comes as another blow to SeaWorld. The marine park is already experiencing low attendance rates, a major drop in the price of shares, and, of course, negative press in the papers and online each and every day since Blackfish hit. Oh yes. And they can’t get musical acts to perform at their facility.