SeaWorld WATCH: CEO and 108 Workers Let Go, But No Orcas

by on December 17, 2014 · 4 comments

in California, Culture, Economy, Environment, Health, History, Media, Ocean Beach

SeaWorld Sucks adThese are bad days for SeaWorld: plummeting ticket sales and profits. And worse – the CEO was fired, 108 workers at the San Diego theme park were laid off, part of 300 nation-wide.

Yet, no orcas have been let go or laid off. You know things are getting bad when even the U-T San Diego – a staunch supporter of SeaWorld – asks “Will SeaWorld free Shamu?“.

Amidst continuing protests at their front gate, SeaWorld announced a week ago that CEO Jim Atchison was resigning. At this point it’s fairly universally accepted that a lot of SeaWorld’s decline is because of changing attitudes of consumers about orca captivity – much of that prompted by the “Blackfish” documentary -which was highly critical of its treatment of killer whales.

Then SeaWorld made the news that it was laying off 108 workers – due to “company-wide restructuring”. They are part of more than 300 to be let go across the country. SeaWorld Entertainment has 11 theme parks, three of which are marine parks, San Diego, Sam Antonio in Texas and Orlando in Florida.

Including full and part-time employees, SeaWorld San Diego has between 2,000 to 4,000 in their work force, depending on the season.  The lay-offs include 34 people among entertainers and performers and 16 “costume characters” will have to go. Other cuts, according to Lori Weisberg at the U-T, include:

 the vice president of finance and directors of the culinary, merchandise, plant engineering and human resources departments, as well as several management and supervisory jobs. U-T San Diego

 The top and the bottom got cut – but no orcas were let go. This, despite an active campaign and protests that have advocated for the retirement of the longest-held orca in captivity, Corky, captured 45 years ago.

Yet, SeaWorld could turn itself around, free the orcas, and change the corporate attitude. Build a park around the theme of helping sick animals and birds, show kids and adults how they’re trying to help nature – not make profit off captured mammals who are considered highly intelligent.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

joey December 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Don’t hold your breath for sh1tworld to do anything decent. The orcas will go free only after sh1tworld ceases to be a financially viable entity. They need more head pounding and we activists will give it to them. Then we will orchestrate the orcas removal to sea pens for reacclimation to the wild. Captive bred animals will be freed as well, and that includes orcas, porpoises, pilot whales, belugas and dolphins. The US Navy animals will also go free. On Facebook: Free Tilly


Robert Anderson December 18, 2014 at 4:49 am

While obtaining permits to import orcas is very difficult, exporting orcas is a mere formality. If SeaWorld goes bankrupt, expect them to sell off their orcas to the rapidly growing foreign marine park market. The orcas will go from a known bad to an unknown bad. Better figure out how to change the law before SeaWorld goes under or get them to agree to releasing the orcas voluntarily.


Kirk December 19, 2014 at 9:54 am

I’m pretty sure most of the 108 people laid off had very little to do with captive Orcas. They did however lose their jobs. Cheering for that is pretty heartless.


Frank Gormlie December 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Kirk, who is cheering for the 108 SeaWorld workers laid off? No one here.


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