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SeaWorld Subpoenaed on ‘Blackfish’ Comments in Federal Probe

  • Justice Department, SEC also look at trading in 2014
  • Chairman to step down at end of year in separate matter
Patrons watch Orcas from the underwater viewing area at the Shamu Up Close attraction at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 7, 2014.
Photographer: Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. received a subpoena earlier this month from regulators investigating disclosures and public statements by executives, including comments about the “Blackfish” documentary that caused a public backlash against the confinement of orcas.

The investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission will also look at trading in the Orlando, Florida-based company’s securities before and during August 2014, according to a filing Friday. SeaWorld said it’s cooperating with the probe, and its board organized a special committee of independent directors, with their own legal counsel, to deal with the matter.