Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, is a documentary that tells the story of captive orcas and focuses on Tilikum, the orca responsible for the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 and associated with two other deaths. Blackfish is set for release this Friday and SeaWorld recently made it known that it is not happy about it.
Over the weekend, SeaWorld representatives emailed about 50 film critics, calling the documentary “shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate.” In response, the filmmakers reminded everyone that SeaWorld representatives declined to be interview for the film.
You can read the letter from SeaWorld’s Vice President of Communications Fred Jacobs here. I encourage you to read the letter and the response from the filmmakers and to see the film when it is released so you can decide for yourself if Blackfish paints an accurate picture of the life of captive orcas, or, as SeaWorld says, is full of “egregious and untrue allegations.” (Update — Did SeaWorld register several domain names to counter Blackfish? Maybe…)
Perhaps one thing to keep in mind is that in the wild, there have never been any documented cases of orcas attacking humans. That’s something that Cowperthwaite mentions in an interview with ABC news. Check it out:
Let’s end on a good note, though. An orca named Springer has showed us that captured orcas can be successfully re-integrated into their pods and live normal lives again. Read Springer’s inspiring story here: First killer whale to be captured and successfully re-integrated into the wild sighted with a calf.
To learn more:
- Read the update: SeaWorld Entertainment Challenges a Documentary About Captive Orcas
- Read SeaWorld’s letter: Seaworld Lashes Back at the Film “Blackfish”
- Read the response from the filmmakers
- Read David Kriby’s response
- Read about the U.S. debut of Blackfish
- Watch an ABC News segment feature on Blackfish with the film’s director: Should Killer Whales Be Tourist Attractions?
- Watch a clip from the movie Blackfish
- Read and excerpt from David Kirby’s book, Death at SeaWorld which also covers the saga of captive orcas: Inside the Abduction of Tilikum, the Whale That’s Killed Three Times
- Read about the first-ever captive orca
- Read why 2013 is The Year of the Orca
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.