The gut-wrenching documentary Blackfish is having the exact effect SeaWorld worried it might have: it's putting people off of SeaWorld, most recently musical acts like the Canadian band Heart, Willie Nelson, and Barenaked Ladies.
Heart had a performance scheduled at SeaWorld on Feb. 19, but decided (thanks to Blackfish's grim persuasiveness) to cancel. From Heart's official Twitter account:
Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14 due to the controversial documentary film 'Black Fish'.
— Heart (@officialheart) December 8, 2013
The duo is just the latest act to cancel its SeaWorld gig: Willie Nelson and Barenaked Ladies have distanced themselves from SeaWorld, the latter group specifically citing Blackfish as the catalyst for their decisions (Nelson's reps offered the more diplomatic "scheduling conflicts" excuse). The documentary, which first aired on CNN back in 2010, explored the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau at the flippers of an orca, raising questions about the wisdom and ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity just so they can perform for the general delight of juvenile humans.
SeaWorld spokespeople, meanwhile, insist that Blackfish ignores the park's conservation efforts, choosing instead to sensationalize "a handful of incidents" in SeaWorld's long history as a pleasant circus-jail for aquatic mammals.
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