The Two Sides of #SeaWorld

Seaworld, the famous chain of marine-life entertainment parks, has been facing a severe public relations crisis since the release of “Blackfish” in 2013. A documentary that focuses on Tilikum, a captive whale that drowned his trainer during a show, “Blackfish” has caused a major uprising among animal activists. The documentary attacks SeaWorld, accusing them of psychologically abusing their animals and showcases disturbing film such as footage of baby whales being torn away from their mothers (Blackfish).

Although the documentary was released over two years ago, the war is still raging. Twitter especially has become an active platform for conversation. Below are tweets that all utilize #Seaworld as Twitter users attempt to reach out to the company and create a conversation around what they believe to be an animal right’s issue.

Aside from the general public, well-known activists have also joined the fight.


As well as former employees.

In attempt to fight back against negative criticism SeaWorld continues to respond to consumers on Twitter.The company is avid to convince publics that it’s marine residents are both happy and well cared for.

Unfortunately for Seaworld, there are not many others that are rallying for it’s cause. The company is one of the very few voices that is speaking positively about its practices, and that voice is undoubtedly being drowned by all of the negative-sentiment tweets that are utilizing #SeaWorld.


8 thoughts on “The Two Sides of #SeaWorld

  1. This is a conflict that I particularly have a large interest in. I was always a huge fan of SeaWorld, as a whale is my favorite animal. Every year, I would beg my parents to go to SeaWorld so we could watch the whale shows. Now that I have become aware of this debate, my views have obviously changed. I have seen Blackfish for myself and couldn’t help but feel similar to the many people on Twitter attacking SeaWorld. I think the fact that SeaWorld is the only account talking positively about its practices speaks volumes about its wrongness. It’s interesting that even 2 years after this documentary came out, people are still talking about, which is something I wouldn’t have realized if not for your blog post. I’m glad this conversation is ongoing, and it shouldn’t stop until SeaWorld does.

  2. I saw this documentary around the time it came out and there were images from it that were so powerful and have stuck in my mind since. I think you did a great job finding tweets that really express how people felt after watching Blackfish and how important it is to stick up for groups that don’t necessarily have their own voice. The tweet with the person in a fishbowl is especially engaging and stimulating. It really makes you think twice about what we consider to be entertainment and fun for the whole family, but there’s definitely another side to it.

  3. Such a powerful example of the power of storytelling. For a while, Blackfish was all my friends and colleagues would talk, tweet, and post anything about. I knew it affected viewers, but I love how you pulled in tweets and information about how the film negatively impacted SeaWorld sales. You presented a non-biased and well-informed case showcasing each party’s point of view. Great job!

  4. I just want to put it out there first of all that I have not seen “Blackfish” myself, but I know that I need to watch it. I remember my Facebook blowing up with people talking about it when it was released on Netflix. Honestly, one of the reasons why I didn’t want to watch it at first was I didn’t want it to ruin my idealized version of Seaworld. I’ve never actually been to one of the Seaworld parks so I didn’t want it to taint my vision of it. Now, I just haven’t watched it because I know it will make me angry and upset.

    I have read articles and heard discussions surrounding the issues of Seaworld and “Blackfish.” In those discussions, I’ve never heard someone defend Seaworld so I was not really surprised that you didn’t find many pro-Seaworld people on Twitter (besides Seaworld itself). I feel like even though the documentary came out 2 years ago (kind of a long time in media years), that Seaworld hasn’t done much to fix its reputation. I’m not sure if they will ever be able to really recover. I am impressed at how passionate people still are about this issue. I feel like sometimes social activism can just be a fad, and people move from protesting one issue to another quite quickly, just like a passing trend, but this issue has stuck around.

    My favorite tweet that you included was the first one with the whale trapped in the bowl. I was surprised that this was posted less than a month ago. It shows how much people still care. I found this image particularly moving because it was something I never thought of when I was growing up and wanted to go to Seaworld. All the commercials and advertisements make it seem like Seaworld is the best place ever, and everyone is always so happy there. No one ever talked about what those animals really go through–until “Blackfish” came out. I’m always interested in how media can give a voice to the powerless–and in this case, drawing attention to whales who can’t speak out for themselves. Thanks for drawing more attention to this important issue!

  5. I grew up in a cozy coastal tourist town. There is an underwater world and a polar ocean world in town, both with handsome “collections” of ocean animals. I had some of the most fun days there in my childhood. Honestly, before seeing this blog today, I never considered that this kind of facility could be an issue. Although, I would go against the popular discourse and popular value, and say: there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with keeping animals for human amusement. The way they treat and handle the animals can be potentially problematic… Just my 2 cents.

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