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SeaWorld Bitten By Own Twitter Campaign

The social media site is burning up with aggressive questions for SeaWorld, which the company invited by creating the hashtag #AskSeaWorld as part of their huge new ad campaign.

By Vicki Croke

seaworld killer whale-Curimedia


Twitter is burning up with aggressive questions for SeaWorld, which the company invited by creating the hashtag #AskSeaWorld as part of its huge new ad campaign.

The effort to defend the theme park’s killer whale program seems to have backfired.

According to USA Today:

The campaign, which started March 23, includes TV and print ads. It invites the public to submit questions via Twitter about the company’s treatment of animals. It also features a website with videotaped interviews with veterinarians and trainers.

The company is posting friendly questions that have been submitted on their own website, such as “Why are zoos and aquariums important?” but on Twitter itself, the atmosphere is much different with a barrage of pointed and even hostile inquiries, such as “So it’s normal for a baby to be forcefully taken from it’s family & sent to a different country to live with abusive strangers?”

According to The Dodo, Sea World is curating the questions, leaving criticisms behind:

So far, the ones posted have been pretty tame; they include “How does SeaWorld care for their killer whales?” and “How long do killer whales live?”

But on Twitter, it’s another story. A quick glance at the hashtag will give a pretty good idea of how Twitter is responding to the campaign.

beneath the surface-mech.indd

Photo courtesy of Macmillan.

SeaWorld has been fighting to repair its image since the release of the hard-hitting and critically-acclaimed documentary “Blackfish,” in 2013, which explored issues of capturing killer whales, keeping them in captivity, and the training methods used by the company. In the wake of the release of that film, the company experienced drops in revenue and attendance. According to the Associated Press, “SeaWorld says it has spent $10 million on all its efforts at rehabilitating its reputation.” And, just yesterday, a book by former SeaWorld trainer, John Hargrove, “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish,” was released.

According to USA Today:

The timing of the ad campaign and Hargrove’s book was coincidental, SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs told USA TODAY Network in an e-mail.

Here are a few examples of the comments and questions on Twitter under the hashtag #AskSeaWorld:


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8 Responses to “SeaWorld Bitten By Own Twitter Campaign”

  1. Malcolm J. Brenner

    I watched an old 1930’s movie on TV that featured a lion tamer cracking the whip at snarling, roaring big cats and making them do stupid tricks like jumping through flaming hoops. I turned the movie off. SeaWorld is like that movie. They just don’t get that the whole concept of what they are doing is wrong. They have a sincerely vested interest and investment in NOT acknowledging the self-awareness and intimate familial relationships that these creatures display. One day, and I hope it comes soon, their cetaceans will be retired to sea pens, and their acts and conditions of confinement will seem as cruel and barbaric as that “lion-taming” sequence seemed to me.

  2. twittter

    “A baby forcefully taken from its family” ahem…that describes
    pets everywhere

    • Irritated By Stupidity

      Orcas aren’t pets and their family structures are a lot different than a cat’s. I wish people would actually research topics before they open their ignorant mouths or type idiotic comments that simply plaster their ignorance all over cyberspace.

  3. Tracy J Holroyd

    John Hargrove says that SeaWorld tried to sink his book. I sympathise. I am a UK writer and co-author of the award-winning The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy – the memoirs of Europe’s top dolphin trainer, David Capello. Very few members of the public have heard of this expose – despite it being used in higher education and colleges globally. This is due to a UK-wide book and media block employed by the power-houses that finance the captive cetacean industry. With so much money at stake, they don’t want YOU – the public – to know what really happens behind the closed doors of these hellholes. It is not only at SeaWorld where this abuse is taking place – it’s in dolphinaria and marine parks all over the world. John Hargrove, they will try to sink your book, as they did with ours. They will try to discredit you, as they did with Capello. Stay strong – the truth must out!


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