The center of the Venn diagram for “fans of the ‘90s band Hanson” and “people who want to boycott SeaWorld for its treatment of animals” is apparently 30,000 strong, and growing. Hanson—who wrote “MMMBop” 20 years ago and have been correcting people about the lyrics ever since—is scheduled to perform at Orlando’s SeaWorld this Sunday, March 11, and a Change.org petition imploring the band to cancel the performance has amassed more than 30,000 signatures.
“Hanson,” the description for the petition begins, “Your fans are some of the most dedicated and loyal fans of music out there—and you know it.” (Oh you know it.) It continues: “We’ve followed you around the world—from Tulsa to Jamaica—and back again.” (Back to Tulsa!) “But we can’t defend your support of SeaWorld.” (Emphasis theirs, and also mine because whoa, buckle up!)
SeaWorld, of course, has been rightfully criticized for its treatment of animals—especially orcas, which the water park company bred in captivity for many years. (The end of the breeding program was announced two years ago—although there will still be theatrical shows until 2019.)
This petition accurately points out that SeaWorld is “hell for animals,” who are confined to small spaces for human entertainment, and that a polar bear and a baby orca whale, among other marine animals, have died on the parks’ watch.
Cheap Trick, Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson, and other bands cancelled appearances at SeaWorld parks in 2013 after the documentary Blackfish raised SeaWorld’s harmful treatment of animals to the mainstream conversation. (The power of movies!) Clearly, the organizers of this petition hope Hanson will do the same.
“ORCAS DESERVE BETTER,” reads the image at the top of the petition.
Indeed, they do. Hanson, will you do the right thing?
We’ve reached out to the band’s representative for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
UPDATE: A representative has contacted us on behalf of SeaWorld with the following statement:
SeaWorld does not mistreat animals in anyway. The claims in this petition are false. To the contrary, our veterinarians, zoologists, marine biologists and other animal care specialists treat every single animal with love, compassion and the highest standards of care. In addition, our team has rescued more than 31,000 animals. Each ticket, each visit, each experience at our parks helps fund wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts, habitat protections and ocean health initiatives.