SeaWorld will not sit idly by and have its good name dragged through the mud.
That’s the message the company sent to the media last week when it preemptively lashed out at the makers of the documentary “Blackfish” prior to its release.
The documentary conveys that orca whales—the high-flying stars of SeaWorld’s shows—suffer “physical and mental distress” in captivity, according to a MediaBistro report
. The film’s tagline is “Never capture what you can’t control.”
Here’s the official trailer:
SeaWorld sent several media outlets a point-by-point response to the documentary a week before its July 19 release. The New York Times
labeled the move “unusual.” The list of “assertions” focuses on the lifespan, births, and treatment of captive whales, as well as the accidental drowning death of a trainer.
Magnolia Pictures sent its own response, along with its director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, in defense of the film.
The exchange is now promising to test just how far a business can, or should, go in trying to disrupt the powerful negative imagery that comes with the rollout of documentary exposés.
SeaWorld’s three main locations—Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio—all have Facebook pages. Orlando has seen a couple of negative comments regarding the movie’s negative content. San Antonio disabled comments on its page at some point, and San Diego’s page has several comments, many of which link to the movie’s trailer. No one seems to be responding on the page.
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Apparently, SeaWorld is letting its “8 Assertions” do its talking. You can read those assertions on IndieWire
, along with the film company’s response.