Point Loma High Students Honor “Blackfish” Director and Her Expose of SeaWorld Treatment of Orcas

by on February 4, 2014 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights

Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Hundreds of Point Loma High School students honored the director of the controversial film “Blackfish” – the expose on SeaWorld’s treatment of their Orcas – on Monday, Feb. 3rd.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite came to the campus after some film students had produced their own film criticizing SeaWorld and addressed an assembled group of them.  She told them she wanted her documentary about the water-park’s captive killer whales to persuade SeaWorld to discontinue “using animals as entertainment.”  Cowperthwaite also told the students that they need to form their own opinions on the issue.

Her film began, she said, as a research project on the death in 2010 of Orca trainer Dawn Brancheau and Tilikum, the killer whale. The U-T San Diego reported that Cowperthwaite stated:

I thought I was going to make a film about trainers and their relationships with the animals.  I peeled back the onion, and I was shocked.

Some of the students had questions for the director, as many of them have grown up in the area and the marine animal park is in their “back yard”. Some have had friends or relatives work at SeaWorld so there was a special interest in “Blackfish” and what the producer had to say.

Cowperthwaite told them:

“Do your own research.”

SeaWorld was also invited to the event but declined, said Anthony Palmiotto who leads the Cinematic Arts Program at PLHS.  A SeaWorld rep disputed the invite but stated that even if invited they would not have attended, and released this statement:

SeaWorld jump orca“As we responded a few weeks ago to the filmmaker’s debate challenge, we have no interest in helping promote a film this dishonest and manipulative. Our position has not changed. We did not receive any specific invitation from the schools regarding today’s screenings.

We would like to thank Kearny High School for inviting us to provide a SeaWorld presentation to their students last week. We applaud the school’s desire to provide its students information on both sides of the issue to help them make a more informed decision.

It’s unfortunate that we did not receive invitations from the other schools to provide a SeaWorld presentation to their students.”

The film along with protests of late at SeaWorld by animal rights activists have brought the park’s treatment of killer whales into high relief.

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dan Shay February 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

Watched Blackfish last night. Learned there have been over 70 instances of orcas attacking their trainers – usually with serious injuries. Seaworld (“SW”) does a fantastic job of hiding this fact and manipulating its public image. Only the fatalities make it into the news. Tilikum had already killed 2 other people before he killed Dawn Brancheau. SW at first told the public that Dawn fell in his tank, but when witnesses came forward they changed the story. SW’s modus operandi is to blame the victims and never admit any wrong doing. SW says the average life span of an orca is 35 years because that is about how long they live in captivity. But the actual life span is more like 50 – 80 years (in the wild). SW says it is common for their fins to fall over, but in reality less than 1% of wild orcas have collapsed fins. The amount of misinformation SW spews is amazing, although not surprising with the quantity of money that is involved. This misinformation diminishes the strongest argument they have which is claiming to be a research facility. SW is a publicly traded corporation on the NYSE called SEAS . What do you think the shareholders care most about? Why should we we support their greed?

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avatar Debra February 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I agree. And I’ve also read that SeaWorld doesn’t pay taxes. Nice.

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avatar Susie February 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Close the Whale Jail

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