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Thread: Did SeaWorld stuff ballots for 'Blackfish' poll?

  1. #1
    mjw
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    Default Did SeaWorld stuff ballots for 'Blackfish' poll?



    (CNN)
    -- Maybe it's not surprising that in SeaWorld's hometown of Orlando, an online poll showed overwhelming support for the theme park in light of a recent documentary that has raised questions about its treatment of killer whales.


    What has turned heads, though, is the fact that more than half of the votes appeared to have come from a computer, or computers, at SeaWorld itself.


    The CNN documentary "Blackfish" traces the controversial history of killer whales in captivity, leading up to the 2010 killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound orca Tilikum, a whale previously associated with the death of two other people.


    On December 31, the Orlando Business Journal posted an unscientific poll asking, "Has CNN's 'Blackfish' documentary changed your perception of SeaWorld?"


    By midday Thursday, the paper reported, an overwhelming 99% of respondents said "no," their opinion of the beloved park had not changed.


    What the Journal discovered upon a closer look, though, was that 54% of those 328 votes had been cast from a single Internet Protocol (IP) address.


    An IP address is an identifier that can represent either a single computer or a connected network of them.


    The address in this case? SeaWorld.com.


    "Not sure if this will become another belly flop for the theme park giant, but this surely couldn't have been part of its public relations campaign," the Journal's Richard Bilbao wrote in a story exposing the vote.


    The survey results have since swerved the other way. By midday Friday, 70% of the poll's more than 1,700 respondents had said "yes," with only 30% saying no.


    SeaWorld denies that the flood of "no" votes from its computers was a case of digital ballot-box stuffing.


    "It's important to note we have more than 6,000 team members in Orlando, between three parks and our company headquarters," spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said in an email to CNN. "I think anyone would expect that an Orlando publication would be read and responded to by some of those team members. ...


    "Our team members have strong feelings about their park and company and we encourage them to make their opinions known. If a poll is posted regarding SeaWorld, our team members have as much a right as anyone else to vote and express their opinion. We're unsure why that's being questioned here."



    n a statement to the Business Journal, Gollattscheck specifically denied using a "bot" to cast votes in the poll.


    A "bot" is an automated tool that can be set up on a computer to perform a repetitive task, like voting repeatedly in a digital poll.


    "Blackfish," directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and acquired by CNN at the Sundance Film Festival, first aired on October 24. Since then, SeaWorld has faced a considerable public-relations backlash.


    Musicians including Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Heart, Cheap Trick and Barenaked Ladies have canceled planned concert appearances at the park while other artists, like Joan Jett and Edgar Winter, have asked that their music no longer be used in shows featuring the sound-sensitive orcas.


    An online petition at Change.org asking country singer and "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery to cancel a March 1 show there has nearly 30,000 signatures.


    SeaWorld has said "Blackfish" focuses on a small handful of events from the park's 39-year history and ignores the park's contributions to education, preservation and animal research.
    CNN's Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.
    Did SeaWorld stuff ballots for 'Blackfish' poll? - CNN.com

  2. #2
    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    I watched Blackfish about 2 weeks after going to Sea World San Diego. I felt very guilty for bringing my kids. Though, to be honest, we only watched the seal show and spent the rest of the times in the kid area playing on rides.

    I'm sure Sea World does a lot of great conservation work. But, I don't think it's right to have those massive killer whales trapped in such small spaces. Sad.
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Agreed. SeaWorld would do just fine with water rides and such. Maybe not as good as they've done in the past ... but frankly, with Blackfish coming out, they aren't going to anyway. It's time to release those animals. People have ALWAYS known that killer whales are animals with strong emotional bonds and familial relationships. It's disgusting and disturbing that this practice has continued. Human trafficking is wrong and animal trafficking and circus performances are wrong as well. Leave the damn animals alone. Let them live in their world and FRO!
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    fgg
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    this documentary broke my heart and made me feel sick for those poor sad orcas and the trainers who clearly are in danger.

    SeaWorld sued by shareholders over ‘Blackfish’ scandal

    SeaWorld Entertainment is in more hot water.

    The company has been hit with a shareholder lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about the impact of last year’s “Blackfish” documentary on attendance and mistreating its famed killer whales.

    Last month, SeaWorld shares tumbled 33 percent in one day after the company warned that the hard-hitting film was hurting attendance at its theme parks.

    The film released in July 2013 — just months after SeaWorld’s April 18 initial public offering — made the alleged mistreatment of orcas a national issue and galvanized animal rights activists.

    The suit alleges that SeaWorld failed to disclose it had improperly cared for its orca population and continued to feature and breed a whale that had killed and injured numerous trainers.

    As a consequence, the company “created material uncertainties and risks” that could impacted attendance at its family-oriented parks.

    The Blackstone Group, which bought SeaWorld less than five years ago, has reaped about $2.2 billion on its $1 billion investment since December 2009. Blackstone has a 22.5 percent stake in the aquatic-park operator.

    Shares of SeaWorld, which went public at $27 a share, traded up slightly Wednesday to $20.70 at 12:30 p.m. in New York.

    SeaWorld sued by shareholders over ‘Blackfish’ scandal | New York Post
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