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UCF grad and former SeaWorld intern takes issue with CNN’s airing of documentary ‘Blackfish’

November 4, 2013
Killer whales, photo by Jason Kelly

Killer whales, photo by Jason Kelly

Editor’s note: Recently, you may have heard, CNN decided to air the controversial documentary Blackfish, which takes aim at SeaWorld for both its role in the 2010 trainer Dawn Brancheau and the park’s decision to keep orca whales – intelligent animals that some say should not be kept in captivity at all – in its parks for fun an profit. We received an op-ed from recent UCF grad Jason Douglas Kelly, who spent two and a half years working at SeaWorld as a research intern. He says that CNN violated journalistic principles in airing the film. His op-ed is linked below.

UPDATE: Kelly asked us to remove his opinion piece from our site because he allowed the Sentinel to publish it in its “New Voices” column on Nov. 2, and he says Sentinel now owns the copyright. For more information on the film, read our Aug. 7 story on Blackfish.

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  • Carol

    Well said; I agree!!!!! Completely one-sided!!! No mention of any of the wonderful things Seaworld does for animals!!! CNN is a news show;should not repeatedly air something so one-sided!!!! Shame on them!!!!!!

  • James

    Fallacious. To open up a dialogue about this issue you address the assertions of the film and counter them with compelling evidence. Main arguments worth discussing: lifespan of orcas wild vs. captive, “raking” in the tanks, lack of disclosure of Tilikum’s previous violent behavior. Sure, Seaworld has a rescue program — that is not the concern of this documentary. The OTHER SIDE of this argument is not that Seaworld also rescues turtles; the other side would be a valid counter-argument supporting Seaworld’s orca captivity practices. A murderer is not excused because he donates to charity. False balance.

  • scl

    Carol: WE should lock you up in a cage and make you do stupid tricks. If you refuse, we won’t give you any food. If you behave, we’ll be nice to you. We will be wonderful to you. Now make sure you tell the whole world how nice we are because you shouldn’t be one-sided.

  • Doreen

    SeaWorld spends a pittance of profit on charitable work for some sea animals as part of their PR marketing budget.

  • Your An Idiot

    I hope you don’t have any pets, ie dogs, cats, birds, etc, because its the same thing. And also the animals get fed and are treated the same whether or not they wish to perform or not. Many times they’ve cancelled the shows because the whales didn’t want to behave, they weren’t beaten or starved instead they were given the time to act out whatever they wished to act out. Quit being stupid.