The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a SeaWorld lawsuit, in which the company allegedly mislead shareholders, has been granted class-action status by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Anello. According to the lawsuit, SeaWorld executives supposedly kept secret the negative impact of the 2013 documentary Blackfish.
The 2013 documentary Blackfish‘s portrayal of SeaWorld gave the entire a company a black eye. The film scrutinizes the treatment of the killer whales in captivity, and the death of one of the trainers.
Those entitled to be included in the lawsuit “must have owned SeaWorld Entertainment stock between Aug. 29, 2013 and Aug. 12, 2014, not sold it before Aug. 13, 2014.” Shareholders also must reportedly have been “damaged” by the alleged falsehoods of the SeaWorld executives according to Judge Anello. This excludes “present or former SeaWorld executives, the board of directors and their immediate families.”
Emails between executives that have since been released show that they knew Blackfish was hurting the company’s business in “late 2013 or early 2014,” which was long before they eventually admitted the documentary had negatively impacted attendance months later in August of 2014.
Credit: Orlando Sentinel