Mattel Not to Extend its Licensing Deal with SeaWorld Entertainment Inc
Apr 27 15
Mattel, Inc. has announced it will not extend its licensing deal with SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and end the production of all SeaWorld-related merchandise including SeaWorld Trainer Barbie dolls. It has decided not to extend its deal with SeaWorld and stop producing any of its merchandise amidst uproar from environmentalists, including PETA, who have alleged that SeaWorld orcas are being mistreated.
Seaworld Entertainment Appoints Joel Manby as President and Chief Executive Officer, Effective April 7
Mar 28 15
SeaWorld Entertainment reported that its Board of Directors has appointed Joel Manby as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 7. Manby will also join the company's Board of Directors. David F. D'Alessandro, who has served as interim CEO, will continue to serve as the Company's Chairman. Most recently, Manby has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Enterprises.
SeaWorld Customers File Class-Action Lawsuit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc
Mar 25 15
SeaWorld customers, represented by attorneys at Hagens Berman filed a groundbreaking class-action lawsuit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., alleging that SeaWorld deliberately conceals the unethical treatment and conditions of its captive orcas, including psychoactive drugging, forced separation of calves from mothers, forced and unnatural breeding, and cramped conditions that lead to aggression and disease, according to the filing. The lawsuit states that SeaWorld has also hidden dangers to whale trainers, misleading the public through a deceptive and false illusion that its whales are thriving and well cared-for when the opposite is true. The lawsuit seeks to represent hundreds of thousands of visitors to SeaWorld’s entertainment parks located in California, Florida and Texas. The lawsuit, filed on March 25, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, focuses on the treatment of orcas captive at SeaWorld and performing in SeaWorld’s Shamu show in which orcas perform in a seemingly peaceful and cooperative manner with trainers to the delight of millions of consumers. The complaint states SeaWorld’s orcas in the care of man mantra is an illusion that masks the ugly truth about the tortured and despairing lives of these whales. A truth that, if known to the purchasing public at the time families make the decision to visit SeaWorld, buy a membership, or pay for an ‘exclusive park experience, would lead them to seek entertainment elsewhere. The lawsuit’s named plaintiff, Holly Hall, is a resident of Temecula, California who took her two grandchildren and her daughter to see the Shamu show at SeaWorld’s original, signature San Diego location in 2011 and 2012. The complaint states, had SeaWorld disclosed the true facts about the conditions and behavior of its captive whales, and not made false and misleading statements, Hall would not have purchased tickets. Lawsuit: SeaWorld’s Mistreatment of Orca Whales; Psychoactive Drugs: According to the complaint, the conditions and treatment of SeaWorld’s orcas leads SeaWorld to administer a variety of powerful drugs to them, sometimes for their entire lives. Among the drugs forced upon its captive orcas are antacid products, used to treat stress-induced ulcers and antipsychotic and psychoactive drugs, including generic Valium given to calm captive whales. Teeth Damage and Infection: The lawsuit states that due to forced confinement at SeaWorld, orcas routinely rip paint off the inner walls of their pools by using their teeth – something SeaWorld allegedly hides from the public. SeaWorld’s orcas also obsessively damage their teeth along the ledges, floors and pool stages, wearing down their teeth and leaving holes ripe for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Whales are often subjected to a lifelong daily flushing regimen to stave off infection, according to the complaint. Severe Confinement: Orcas often swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild but are kept in unnatural and unhealthy small tanks according to the lawsuit. SeaWorld keeps its orcas in a series of interlocking chemical baths. When not actually performing, SeaWorld’s captive orcas spend many hours a day in so-called med pools only eight feet deep, the lawsuit states. Shortened Lifespan: Orcas in the wild have an average life closer to that of human beings – their estimated maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to more than 90 for females. The suit states that in captivity, most die in their teens or 20s and only a handful have reached 35. Separation of Calves: The complaint states that SeaWorld separates mothers from calves, and separated mothers exhibit distressed behavior for years as a result – in at least one instance emitting unique long-range vocalizations long after a calf was taken to another amusement park. Exposure to Harsh Sunlight: The orcas are kept in shallow pools and have nearly perpetual sunburns that SeaWorld allegedly covers up with black zinc oxide, the suit states. Collapsed Dorsal Fins: The lawsuit alleges that as a result of captivity, orcas at SeaWorld have collapsed dorsal fins – a condition rarely found in the wild – though SeaWorld falsely denies this is the case. According to the complaint, SeaWorld’s misconduct violates, among other laws, California’s Unfair Competition Laws and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California false advertising laws, Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice law, and also includes common law claims of deceit and unjust enrichment.