Busch Gardens suffers from Sea World boycott

The movie Blackfish about how the Whales are treated at Sea World has caused a boycott
The movie Blackfish about how the Whales are treated at Sea World has caused a boycott

According to INSIDE EDITION some of the biggest performers in music are cancelling concerts at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens because of shocking scenes of alleged animal abuse portrayed in the recent documentary Blackflish.

Busch Gardens was informed this week that the Beach Boys won’t be coming to Tampa because of the Sea World boycott. For those who do not know it, Busch Gardens is owned by Sea World so both parks will take a hit from the boycott.

Country singer Martina McBride just wrote on her Facebook page. “I’ve decided that given all the issues that have been aired recently, the time isn’t right for me to play at SeaWorld.”

Legendary singer Willie Nelson also cancelled his SeaWorld concert, saying: “I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals,” after he watched Blackfish.

HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell said, “If you were kept in a bathtub 25 years, don’t you think you’d be a little psychotic?”

A spokesperson for country star Trisha Yearwood told INSIDE EDITION she’s cancelling “because of recent concerns” raised by the documentary like the one about the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, killed by a whale named Tilikum.

In one scene from Blackfish, the film notes, “Tilikum, at some point, grabbed a hold of her left forearm and started to drag her, and eventually did a barrel roll and pulled her in. He basically just mutilated that poor girl.”

The documentary also has a shocking depiction of how whales are allegedly captured in the wild.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish told INSIDE EDITIONS, “A bunch of bands have backed out. I’m blown away by that. I can’t believe it. I think the film is actually doing some good work out there.”

Other groups cancelling upcoming SeaWorld appearances include REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Heart and Barenaked Ladies.

A SeaWorld spokesperson tells INSIDE EDITION in a statement: “The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals.”

Cowperthwaite said, “SeaWorld is sort of claiming that it’s a lot of radical activists that are feeling this way. And it’s not.”

SeaWorld sent INSIDE EDITION this statement: “While we’re disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld, we respect the bands’ decisions. We expect that other artists will be targeted in this campaign.
The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals.

We continue to book other bands and artists as we plan for another great Bands, Brew & BBQ event in 2014. We’ll announce our full lineup when all artists have been confirmed.

More than 11 million people a year visit SeaWorld parks and most will see a killer whale presentation during their visit.  Over the course of our 50-year history hundreds of millions of people have experienced killer whales in our parks.  There is tremendous appeal in that kind of inspirational and educational experience and we anticipate that killer whale display will continue for generations to come.  We have always understood that we have an obligation to every animal living at SeaWorld to provide the highest quality care and to interpret the animals for our guests in ways that are meaningful and enriching. The benefits of zoological display also include conservation of wild populations, animal rescue, and scientific research.”

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved with Berman Concerts and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.