In 2013, CNN aired the documentary Blackfish, which made a very strong argument that SeaWorld’s housing of orca whales is cruel because orcas are social animals. The result of their years of captivity is that one of the park’s most famous killer whales, a bull named Tilikum, was driven insane. He was responsible for the death of two people and seriously injured another one. What’s interesting is that there are no recorded human deaths caused by orcas in the wild. Besides the mental impact on the animals, the whales also had a drastically shorter lifespan.
After the documentary was released, SeaWorld’s attendance plummeted and their stock drop nearly 40 percent. SeaWorld thought they were treated unfairly and decided that the best way to address the allegations was to take to Twitter with the #AskSeaWorld campaign in March of 2015. That’s right. SeaWorld was going address an 82-minute long documentary that painted them as a soulless, money hungry corporation that exploits the torture of social animals by allowing anyone with a Twitter account to ask them a question. What could go wrong?
You have to wonder, what was the end game here? What type of magical question could they get that would change people’s minds? Most questions were similar to what the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) tweeted:
“Why do you LIE & tell guests collapsed dorsal fins are normal when only 1 percent suffer this in the wild?”
After getting a barrage of questions regarding their treatment of the animals, SeaWorld didn’t end up answering any of them. In fact, they went on the offensive and belittled the people who asked those questions, and called other people liars. Finally, SeaWorld gave up and tweeted:
“No time for bots and bullies. We want to answer your questions.”
The media tried to get in contact with SeaWorld after the Twitter disaster and no one was available for comment.