When Anti-Cap Comments Go Bad

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Ex SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove

     It started off as one comment, and ended (if, indeed it has) as an all-out bun fight, with people being threatened with legal action and even jail!
Sounds fantastical? Well, read on and please leave a polite comment when you’re done.

     Unsurprisingly, it garnered some responses. Many people are actively trying to prevent the SW float from appearing in the Macy parade, and would have expected an ex-trainer to be against the whole idea.

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     That should have been the end of it.  Anti captivity advocates are real people and, just like all the other real people, sometimes their opinions differ. That shouldn’t mean that a tirade of abuse and threats should follow. Unfortunately, *somebody* saw this as an opportunity to weigh in and cause friction.

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     This has nothing to do with a float in the Macy’s parade. It’s an “in-Tumblr” joke, if you don’t have a tumblr account, you probably won’t “get”it.  It’s an innocent remark totally unconnected to anything to do with John Hargrove.  Yet in he plunges…

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What can he mean??
Oh, this makes it a bit clearer. He wants “conflict”…

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He’s looking for a fight and has decided to pick on a female almost half his age. Yet he’s calling her a bully. He also swats away the peace-maker…NOT a promising start, but although the coffin maker may have the hammer in his hand, the lid is not nailed down. Yet.

So, the story goes that a child with alleged suicidal tendencies (I use the word alleged as I have seen no record of it, so I am not about to stick my neck on the line over this) and, therefore, some quite serious mental health issues was “bullied” by a friend and fellow anti-captivity advocate. Is this true? Well I cannot say, what I will say is that my friend has openly admitted to being a “dick” over certain things she wrote and when she was pulled up on it, she stopped. So, if she DID bully someone she isn’t anymore. I also know that the “bullying” episode was WEEKS ago, not recent as Hargrove would want you to think. I know the situation might not have been resolved as some would wish, but that is their problem to solve, not mine.

Anyway…..while he is swatting away the peace-keeper, who has done NOTHING wrong, with one hand, he is attacking her and her studies with wild orca with the other…


Erm…what did I just read? I KNOW you don’t know the peace-keeper, so you cannot possibly know anything about her, but the temptation to make rude presumptive statements is just too much.
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Oh, wild orca…..I have seen the peace-keeper’s work and I highly recommend it. Especially if you like your orca wild, free and completely devoid of lycra-clad cling-ons.

Now, for the second time, this could have been a natural end to the “conflict” (please remember who used that word first), but astonishingly it continues…

A third person enters the fray. Another friend who is neither antagonist nor peace-keeper. I’ll call her the straight-talker. You can see why:
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Immediately defensive and after that the hate just keeps coming….
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The person behind the pink is the “suicidal teen”. Just so you know. Now, remember this post…..you will see it later.

The hate is coming from all directions now aimed at everyone who is isn’t a fan of SeaWorld as they have never touched an orca and felt that “special” bond that only a trainer can feel….

These may not be in chronological order….when hate spews this much it’s hard to keep track. This is a tirade against the straight-talker:
tweet rant 1
tweet rant 2tweet rant 3Whoa….he’s just called ALL SeaWorld fans who visit on a regular basis to see their favourite orca (remember them John? They are the people who paid your wages) “abnormal” and “unstable”. Yep, that’s the way to make friends and influence people.
Oh, wait….he’s in mid-rant….
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     (he means Daniel Dukes, the guy who was found dead in Tilikum’s tank)

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   So there you have it….it’s all about the fame, the thoughts and feelings of fellow activists are “radical” and he cares not one bit about them. Nope. It’s all about the interviews and national media. You could almost “Believe” that Blackfish was HIS life story…

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A short lesson in “Do As I Say; Not Do As I Do”:
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The final nail in the coffin is this little peach….trying to pass off a nasty swipe that he made by saying it was made by “suicidal teen”.
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No, it was said by an adult who clearly condones violence and then LIES about it.
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What a nasty person. This level of abuse and hate rumbled on for hours as systematically anyone who isn’t an acolyte was attacked and ridiculed and threatened by Hargrove and others.

The level of hate is such that I and the straight-talker have been threatened by someone who played virtually no part in the events mentioned above….seems some ex-trainers just can’t leave the spotlight alone.

pirtle threat


Still waiting for my apology, by the way. Don’t see it coming anytime soon.
For anybody still clinging to the “oh, but this is harassment” band-wagon, rest assured, it isn’t. Unless laying out the facts is now classed as harassment.


6 responses to “When Anti-Cap Comments Go Bad

  1. Pingback: Occhi su… BLACKFISH. | Mystic Shadows

  2. Kat

    I saw some of this going on and have a few things to put out there…

    Firstly, someone who has been on a documentary and received media attention, will automatically develop an ego. It’s almost unavoidable because suddenly someone is being listened to globally – it is a lot of power to suddenly come into.

    Secondly, this topic is so emotive and everybody involved (anti and pro) are extremely vocal about their reasons and opinions. It’s a divisive issue as it is – add in the aforementioned ego and it gets worse. It’s almost impossible to discuss something you care about without becoming enraged with those who disagree, or feel frustrated with those that are equally or less involved than you feel you are. Feeling everyone can do more is a common experience – and John maybe feels that being angry at a float is a minor issue when compared to the hundreds of real cetaceans currently in captivity.

    Thirdly, as the person in the previous comment suggested, there could be little or no, or ideally negative, reaction to the float. I feel Macy’s and Seaworld are huge corporations that are going to ignore petitions – and the government have bigger things to tackle than inflatable whales – so it is energy that could be placed somewhere that may be more “helpful”. I think hoping people will show up and boo is a little idealistic, I can’t see that happening and it is more likely to remind people to go to Seaworld that perhaps haven’t been for a long time, or who have never been. But there will be a small amount of people who might just google Seaworld, discover Blackfish and maybe some more people will look into it and boycott Seaworld more than those who are, are currently doing.

    Fourthly, with twitter, it is too quick, too instant and too easy to join in on hot topics and fights. John possibly felt ganged up on with people suddenly joining in and I have to say he’s right, and has the experience of working in Seaworld to know that people think they have a connection because these animals are so intelligent. We maybe think we are special to them and they’ve proven over and over that they don’t want us. They don’t need us. They don’t really even like the hand that feeds them in these horrible parks. So why they’d connect to one or two dozen strange visitors is a little bit deluded. I don’t think he was trying to hurt anyone but sometimes being a bit strong worded gets the message across. He does need to burst some people’s bubbles. Maybe he did say the wrong thing to the wrong person, but ultimately these animals, wild or otherwise, don’t need us humans interfering with them. They don’t ask to be photographed or studied, so to think we’re doing anything for the animal is to make ourselves feel better.

    That said, obviously that wild work is important for their ultimate protection. But if the trainers looking after the ones already in their cages aren’t interested in their well being, the whales are really in trouble. What I feel is that we shouldn’t be inprisoning any MORE cetaceans and we should look after the ones we have much better. Ultimately I’m not sure a float will change anything. And maybe people will boo or discover Blackfish, but those watching on their TV sets probably aren’t going to really do much. Maybe some will go to Seaworld, maybe some won’t.

    In a ideal world, they will pull their float down or pull out the parade now but I think this twitter battle was more about egos and bad attitudes and misplaced passions than whether a float will help or hinder whales in captivity.

    I’d rather it wasn’t taking place in the parade but since it seems to be, maybe it would be better to organise people to get out there amongst the crowd and promote Blackfish. Flyers or something to give to people as they stand around. If I was in America I might be tempted to do that than sign a petition (which I have) which are just going to be dismissed…

    Either way I hope the young person mentioned isn’t in any danger, and has support around them in real life to make them realise the Internet is a cruel and senseless place at times and gets abused too easily.

    • Most people don’t know, or maybe simply have forgotten that 3 decades ago, Sea World had four Orcas: Kotar, Canuck II, Katina and Kasatka in a public access petting pool for over a year where they interacted safely with thousands of visitors to the and *noone* was ever hurt. If Orcas were that ‘inherently dangerous’ this would not be the case.

      It is not ‘deluded’ for a visitor who has worked on three different interspecies communications projects and spent thousands of hours getting to know these individuals [ as well as many others over the decades ] without using food to coerce them into unwanted contact [ something the common visitor doesn’t do ] have a ‘relationship’ or ‘rapour’ or ‘bond’ or whatever term you wish to apply to it, with one of these highly intelligent beings, being a trainer is not required to do this. Just because they do not like their captors does not mean they cannot like someone else or wish to interact with them. I have experienced the four of them [ singly ] grabbing my arm in their mouth up to my elbow [ in a similar manner as what the official reports say happened to Dawn ] on over a dozen occasions during the time I spent with them when they attempted to invite me into the water to play. I am alive, whole, and uninjured after all this. I was also under constant observation by the tank monitor and more often than not from across the tank by staff from the Orca show. Had I been doing anything unsafe or inappropriate [ at the time ] I would have been challenged by the staff. I never was. You can view my FB photo albums for photos of my interactions for proof.

      Side Note: I didn’t use food as I did not want to be associated with control issues it represents as well as simple observation at the pool showed me that the Cetaceans did not like combining being touched with food gathering. It was an either or process for them that most people do not understand. This has lead in recent times to several people being injured while feeding them and thankfully, to my knowledge, the stopping of such feeding.

      It is worth pointing that now, after three decades of operant training and food deprivation that the two who are still living, Kasatka and Katina, are considered ‘problem animals’ by Sea World.

      Captivity is toxic to Cetaceans, especially in its current deplorable state of drastically undersized tanks, hyper sterilized water and unbearable sound levels and them being made to perform ridiculous tricks for their daily food for Humans amusement.

      Yes, captivity needs to end, but saying Cetaceans do not want or need Humans ‘interfering’ with them ignores the several thousand year history of the Human species interacting with Cetaceans in a peaceful manner up until a couple hundred years ago when the Human race started waging genocidal war against Cetaceans just so we could have oil for our lamps and fine watches and make products like perfumes and lipstick or killing them just because they’re eating fish some Humans wanted. Considering all this, it would seem that they have put up with a great deal of ‘negative interaction’ from Humans lately and have done very little in retaliation. Perhaps some more ‘positive interaction’ is on order in this modern and supposedly enlightened world.

      Back then, I wanted to be a trainer too. However after my interactions and seeing what captivity has and continues to do to all Cetaceans, not just Orcas, I quickly changed my mind and no longer wanted to. I have not been back to the park since that time, now 33 years ago, so I wasn’t supporting their captivity by buying tickets to the park. I made a singular exception earlier this year to visit so I could see Kasatka and her new calf. I was disgusted at how much more commercial the park had become in the intervening years and what had been a nice interaction pool, had been turned into an income stream for the park where visitors had to now pay to be able to interact but only in a very controlled manner. What little ‘educational value’ there had been in the park back then had now totally disappeared. Money and ‘entertainment’ had become the main focus.

    • Lexie

      You are simply incredible. Your words are perfect – they explain both sides of the argument. I have to say thank you.

      • You are most welcome. It is sometimes hard to remain neutral as this such a charged subject and people often wind up polarized on one side of the captivity issue but it is what I strive to do.

        I do not feel that all my life experiences with Cetaceans is mere chance. It has been a guided journey of experiences, some very unique, and learning that is still unfolding for me. I feel it will help everyone, both Cetacean and Human overcome the current problems and that we will eventually be able to communicate so both species can peacefully coexist and work together to heal the planet. They speak and I try to listen.

  3. I don’t like the idea of a SW float in the Macy’s Parade, but it just might be a good thing. Now just follow me on this.

    This is a Nationally [ and maybe now today internationally ] televised event that I grew up with as a kid. Our family watched this every year and enjoyed it. People from coast to coast sat together as a family and watched this event. If you are lucky enough to live close enough, you stood there and watched it live as the amazing floats passed you by. Thousands line the streets the parade follows no matter what the weather just to be a part of it. Cheering and applauding each float as it passes by.

    Now the movie “Blackfish” showing the plight of captive Cetaceans is in the public consciousness in ever increasing numbers. More people are aware of the plight of captive Cetaceans now than a mere 6 months ago because of this revealing movie. News reports have stated that attendance at the parks has reportedly dropped because of it so people are aware and taking action. The pendulum is starting to swing the other way in regards to animal captivity and the care of these animals.


    What if this ‘bad idea’ of a float is allowed into the parade…

    What if all [ or even just most ] the people there at the parade boo and jeer and show their disgust at this particular float, something which to my knowledge has NEVER occurred in the history of this parade…

    And as a result, the parade is momentarily stopped so the float can be pulled out and it is not allowed to finish. Something else that to my knowledge has NEVER occurred in the history of this parade.

    MILLIONS of people across the nation just witnessed history in the making on live TV. Something that never happened before in the 89 year history of the Macy’s parade. Families that witnessed it will be talking about it for days. Talking about the plight of captive Cetaceans and other captive animals too. There could be a major shift in public opinion. Maybe even on a global scale.

    It could be the watershed event that changes everything for them.

    It’s just a thought from someone who has a couple of Cetacean friends of his own. 🙂

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