December 9, 2013
By Saeed Ahmed, CNN
full story, video, comments:
(CNN) -- Add Heart to the list of bands that are bowing out of a show at
SeaWorld because of the
"Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14
due to the controversial documentary film 'Black Fish,'" the band said Sunday
verified Twitter account.
Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson did not elaborate.
But the duo isn't the first to cancel a concert at the Florida theme park
because of the film.
Country singer Willie Nelson and
Canadian rock act Barenaked Ladies also pulled the plug on their shows.
"While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able
to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked
Ladies and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions," SeaWorld spokesman
Nick Gollattscheck told CNN on Sunday.
Nelson: 'What they do at SeaWorld is not OK'
The documentary -- which first aired on CNN in October -- tells the story of
the killing in 2010 of experienced SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by a
The film raises questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer
whales in captivity over the past 39 years.
Moved by the documentary, fans started online petitions asking musicians to stay
'Blackfish' sparks debate over taking kids to animal parks
When the Barenaked Ladies nixed their plans last week to play at SeaWorld,
they explained that it was a decision made after viewing "Blackfish."
"This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we
don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time," the band said in a
When SeaWorld's Gollattscheck
confirmed Nelson's decision not to sing at SeaWorld, he cited "scheduling
conflicts," but Nelson said it was because of the documentary and petition.
"I don't agree with the way they treat their animals," Nelson told CNN's Brooke
Baldwin. "It wasn't that hard a deal for me."
SeaWorld said it would like the musical artists to learn for themselves about
"The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to
see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves
how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by
animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals,"
SeaWorld says the documentary ignores the park's conservation efforts and
"'Blackfish' focuses on a handful of incidents over our long history at the
exclusion of everything else,"
wrote Michael Scarpuzzi, vice president for zoological operations at San
Diego SeaWorld, in an op-ed on CNN.com. "Not a single interview with a guest who
was inspired and enriched by their experience with killer whales at SeaWorld.
Not one visitor who left SeaWorld more aware of the need to preserve the world
around them. Not one word about the thousands of ill, orphaned and injured
animals rescued by SeaWorld or the millions of dollars we dedicate to supporting
conservation and research."
SeaWorld responds to questions about captive orcas, 'Blackfish' film
CNN's Alan Duke contributed to this report.