Ever since Blackfish came out, SeaWorld has taken a lot of flack. They have lost a lot of high profile relationships, stock prices have plummeted, and public demands from researchers to stop misrepresenting their research to deceive the public.
Their latest marketing campaign, which involves an unbelievably misguided #AskSeaWorld hashtag meant to help clear up misconceptions about the park has been bombarded with questions about animal welfare, endangering trainers, and questions about the lack of academic programming to teach visitors something of actual substance about the intelligent creatures they claim to hold hostage as a way of teaching kids about them. Sadly, these questions have all either been responded to with complete (and easily disproven) fabrications, or been ignored under the heading of “trolls and bots”.
This is how much SeaWorld cares about your opinion.
Thing is, one of the biggest victories that animal welfare groups have attributed to the public’s turn is the fact that SeaWorld lost a million visitors in 2014.
A million people! That’s a huge number.
Except that makes up about 4% of their visitors. So they ONLY saw 4.4 million visitors just in the last quarter of 2014. They ONLY made $50 million last year.
Has the outcry made a difference? It has definitely started to. They’ve fired their CEO and that ill conceived marketing campaign had to come from a place of desperation. An attempt to gain control over a conversation that, in their eyes, has gone completely off the rails.
I agree with Jon Stewart. In a world where the circus releases their elephants to sanctuaries in response to changing times, SeaWorld is looking more and more like a fossil. If the circus can change, I have to believe aquariums like this can to.