SeaWorld is back in the news again. After the ‘Blackfish’ documentary, you would think keeping a low profile would be the company line. Instead, PETA is accusing a SeaWorld employee of infiltrating the advocacy group to incite violence at protests.
PETA’s anti-SeaWorld site, SeaWorldOfHurt.com, is accusing a man it says is Paul McComb, a SeaWorld employee, of posing as Thomas Jones. The organization says Jones attended various PETA events protesting SeaWorld.
“‘Jones’” joined PETA’s Action Team using a P.O. Box in San Diego that we discovered was registered to Ric Marcelino, the director of security for SeaWorld San Diego,” the group says. “He constantly ‘fished’ for information from PETA staffers about protests against SeaWorld.”
I’m not being a smart ass. PETA actually says Thomas or Jones ‘fished’ for information about protests against SeaWorld.
SeaWorld released a statement via spokesman Fred Jacobs but passed on addressing the accusations directly.
“We are focused on the safety of our team members, guests and animals, and beyond that we do not comment on our security operations. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, especially as animal rights groups have become increasingly extreme in their rhetoric and tactics.”
That’s PR speak for go to hell. The release of Blackfish in 2013 did hammer the company, but attendance has since started to recover. In the first quarter, park attendance was up 5.3% to 3.2 million. The company is still in the red, recording a net loss of $44 million, and its stock price is well below pre-Blackfish levels.
PETA vs. SeaWorld
How did PETA uncover the ‘impostor?’ Well, the fine PETA sleuths point to the 2014 Rose Parade as Exhibit A. Thomas Jones was among other activists arrested that day, but he disappeared and was never listed on arrest sheets according to PETA.
According to PETA, photos of Jones match a Facebook photo of Paul McComb and his wife. The photo has since been taken down according to Bloomberg. Still, PETA activists point to McComb and Jones being the same person.
His involvement with the group involved both attending protests and what PETA calls inciting protesters to use violence against SeaWorld.
— Thomas Jones (@ThomasJ49711178) August 23, 2014
— Thomas Jones (@ThomasJ49711178) July 9, 2014
Above are just two of the social media posts PETA cites as evidence Jones/McComb was attempting to urge SeaWorld protesters to resort to illegal or violent actions during the protests.
Is it bad press for SeaWorld? Sure, but it is nowhere close to the damage Blackfish did to the company. Also, PETA is known to employ the same tactics of inserting activists to record companies, facilities and people abusing animals.
You can read PETA’s full story on Jones/McComb at SeaWorldofHurt.com.