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Blackfish (sort of) wins as SeaWorld announces it’s ending orca shows


Today in news that will be interesting to people who have seen Blackfish and weirdly disappointing to people who have not, SeaWorld San Diego has announced that it’s shutting down its iconic-turned-infamous killer whale shows. That’s from The San Diego Union-Tribune, which says SeaWorld’s CEO announced the decision during a webcast this morning about the company’s future, framing it by saying that SeaWorld “[starts] everything by listening to our guests and evolving our shows to what we’re hearing,” which is a nice way of saying that attendance at SeaWorld’s parks has tanked (aquarium pun!) since Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary about how cruel and dangerous it is to keep orcas in captivity, was released in 2013.

This news comes only a few months after animal rights activist Steve-O was charged with a whole bunch of crimes after he climbed to the top of a construction crane, hung an anti-SeaWorld balloon, and tried to set off some fireworks. Before that incident, most of America probably knew Steve-O as that guy who likes to do weird stuff to his penis in movies and/or has a tattoo of his own face, but that brave stunt solidified his reputation as a friend to all animals. That means that if SeaWorld ending its orca shows is a win for Blackfish, it’s just as much a win for Steve-O.


However, it turns out that this isn’t really a win for anybody, as SeaWorld is merely replacing its orca shows with a new “informative” orca exhibit. In other words, it’s still going to have tanks of killer whales, but instead of forcing them to do tricks and pushing them to the point of wanting to eat humans (literally), it’s going to keep them in tanks and let people gawk at them while having “experiences that look more natural”—which somehow sounds more evil than the alternative. Also, at this point the change only applies to SeaWorld’s San Diego location, so the other SeaWorlds are still going to be making these animals fly through the air and repress their urge to destroy the people who are torturing them. Basically, the world needs Steve-O and his unique brand of illegal/attention-grabbing protests now more than ever.

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