When you visit Sea World, you are amazed to see some of the most magnificent creatures up close and personal. However, the story behind closed doors is anything but magnificent. The marine theme park is now in an intense struggle to maintain its public image. Most of the credit can go to the acclaimed documentary Blackfish. The film by director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, chronicles the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at the hands of Tilikum, one of the whales in the park’s main show. The film has clearly put into question the methods Sea World has taken toward keeping whales in captivity and Sea World’s treatment of its trainers. The film displays things such as incidents occurring in shows involving trainers, the separation of an orca calf from her mother, and Tilikum’s early years as an abused youngling. Many interviews involving former sea world trainers and others who have been in contact with Tilikum were also present in the film.
Despite the negative attention, Sea World isn’t taking this sitting down. The park has taken shots at the film for being inaccurate, telling the story from one POV, and exploiting a tragedy that to this day still haunts Dawn’s friends and family. However, this still doesn’t deny the fact that the film has grabbed audience’s attention and turned the public against the Orlando attraction. Recently, several big name performers such as Martina McBride and Heart have canceled their scheduled gigs at Sea World amid the controversy. One things for sure, Sea World’s battle to maintain it’s good standing with the public is still raging. But as of right now, it’s a losing fight.