SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby resigned this week after the release of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report. While SeaWorld did not disclose the reason behind Manby’s departure, the report showed that 1.2 million fewer customers visited the troubled aquatic park in 2017. SeaWorld’s financial reports have consistently showed decreased profits, attendance, and stock values since the release of animal-rights documentary Blackfish in 2013. Manby failed to report the impact of the documentary—which exposed the plight of marine animals, particularly an orca named Tilikum, in captivity—to stakeholders, who filed a class-action lawsuit against the park. “SeaWorld is underwater,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said. “The company tries to ignore mounting public pressure to change its ways, while its earnings plummet and the miserable animals in its custody … remain trapped in tiny tanks.” PETA has issued a resolution for the park to release its captive marine animals, many of whom have faced illness or death in recent years, including Tilikum, who succumbed to a persistent bacterial infection at SeaWorld’s San Diego location in 2017.
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