Walt Disney World news

SeaWorld calls for investigation of OSHA inspector

Leah Zanolla | Posted: Mar 1, 2014 | Updated: Oct 19, 2014 - 9:25:27 AM
SeaWorld is accusing an OSHA inspector of leaking information to the director of the Blackfish film. The company wants the Labor Department's Office of Inspector General to investigate Lara Padgett, a compliance officer for the Occupational Safety and Health Commission (OSHA), for disclosing confidential information. OSHA had previously ruled that trainers must have limited contact with the orcas at the marine park and SeaWorld is challenging that decision in court.

According to SeaWorld, they have received written and videotaped statements from a witness who reports that Padgett disclosed confidential information, "as well as documents submitted in conjunction with a confidential mediation before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals."

Included in this evidence are several posts on Facebook praising Blackfish's success. One of these was a link to a story about the documentary; she posted, "Wow... take that SeaWorld!!! They've got to be getting nervous now."

She allegedly not only attended the film's premiere and three film festivals, but stayed as a guest in a home with some of the film's cast and crew. Photos of her with the film crew appeared on Micechat.com last month.

SeaWorld's letter to the Inspector General said they believe "that Ms. Padgett's disclosure of confidential information and other conduct reflect an intense bias and a desire to assist those in the animal rights community who have publicly, and for many years, demonstrated a desire to damage SeaWorld as a viable business."

The Inspector General's office confirmed that the request from SeaWorld was received, but had no further comment.