Published: Tue, June 27, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

SeaWorld under investigation by two federal agencies

SeaWorld under investigation by two federal agencies

SeaWorld is being investigated by two USA federal agencies who are inspecting public statements by executives, including comments on the documentary Blackfish, which led to a public uproar based on how killer whales were treated.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC issued subpoenas on the subject. The federal agencies are looking into "disclosures and public statements made by the company, certain executives and individuals on or before August 2014, including those regarding the impact of the "Blackfish" documentary, and trading in the company's securities". After the documentary found an audience, SeaWorld SEAS, -1.01% stock took a prolonged hit, and the company unveiled an open letter and website that attempted to rebut the negative characterization in the film. After last years Blackfish, a widely seen documentary about SeaWorld's whales and the trainers injured or killed by them, a California assembly member proposed a law banning killer whale shows in San Diego.

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SeaWorld says it has cooperated with the two inquiries and it intends to continue cooperating with any inquiries or requests by the government. 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.

Friday's revelation that SeaWorld executives are under investigation in relation to "Blackfish" is the documentary's latest blow to the once thriving entertainment company.

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SeaWorld has been facing serious challenges especially after the release of the documentary Blackfish. PETA alleges that animals kept by SeaWorld live shorter lives while in captivity than those that live in the wild.

The struggle began in 2014 and SeaWorld has since fought and made changes to reflect the public's concerns.

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SeaWorld also said that its killer whales that now were in its care are the last generation that will be kept enclosed in its water parks.

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