Walt Disney World news

Heart is the third musical group to cancel SeaWorld performance

Leah Zanolla | Posted: Dec 9, 2013 | Updated: Oct 19, 2014 - 9:25:27 AM
For the third time in just over a week, another band has cancelled their appearance at SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brews & BBQ spring event. The musical group Heart has cancelled their February 9 performance and had this to say on their Twitter account: "Heart has chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld on 2/9/14 due to the controversial documentary film Blackfish."

Last week, Canadian singers Barenaked Ladies cancelled their planned performance, citing their displeasure with the film as well. They wrote on their Facebook page: "This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time."

Country singer Willie Nelson backed out a few days ago, but when announcing this, SeaWorld's spokesman said it was due to scheduling conflicts. Nelson then told CNN it was actually because of the documentary and online fan petitions asking artists to reconsider the performance. "I don't agree with the way they treat their animals. It wasn't that hard a deal for me," said Nelson.

SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck also spoke with CNN and said, "While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions." He continued, "The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals."

After the film came out, SeaWorld San Diego's Vice President for Zoological Operations, Michael Scarpuzzi, released a statement: "Blackfish focuses on a handful of incidents over our long history at the exclusion of everything else. Not a single interview with a guest who was inspired and enriched by their experience with killer whales at SeaWorld. Not one visitor who left SeaWorld more aware of the need to preserve the world around them. Not one word about the thousands of ill, orphaned and injured animals rescued by SeaWorld or the millions of dollars we dedicate to supporting conservation and research."