Global financial services company Credit Suisse examined the sharp increase of negative online activity regarding SeaWorld and found two main contributors to the aquatic park’s decline. The first was the act of a SeaWorld employee posing as a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist in July while the other—and most impactful—was One Direction singer Harry Styles’ call to boycott the park during a July 14 concert. During the show, Styles asked the crowd, “Do you like dolphins?” and followed his question with, “then don’t go to SeaWorld.” In its analysis, Credit Suisse states that these “two events were the main contributors to the 400-percent spike in mentions and 13 percent increase in negative commentary month-over-month.” However, SeaWorld has been experiencing negative online comments since 2013, when the release of marine life cruelty documentary Blackfish debuted. While SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby scrambles to rebuild the park’s reputation, this negative online presence remains consistent with its plummeting profits, stocks, and attendance.
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