(SEAWORLD/CELEBRITY NEWS) “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi is facing a storm of social media backlash after announcing she and her younger brother Robert are teaming up with SeaWorld.
In an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, the 15-year-old gushed about how excited she was “to be carrying on in dad’s footsteps.” But has she seen Blackfish, the scathing documentary about Sea World’s brutal treatment of killer whales?
Shortly before Steve Irwin’s death in 2006, Australia’s popular crocodile hunter was reportedly considering joining Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on one of their voyages to protect whales. The marine conservation group, who honored Irwin by renaming a ship after him, rigorously denounces SeaWorld and the captivity of any marine animal. So how exactly is joining forces with Sea World following in dad’s footsteps? Read below for more on Bindi’s controversial alliance. — Global Animal
Bindi Irwin has sparked massive controversy after announcing she is teaming up with SeaWorld theme parks.
The 15-year-old, made her announcement during an appearance on top-rating US morning TV program Good Morning America, where she was appearing with her mother Terri and brother Robert.
Bindi told viewers: ‘I’m so excited to be carrying on in Dad’s footsteps and making sure that everything he worked so hard for continues for the generations to come.’
It is unclear at this stage how much the teenager is being paid by SeaWorld for the partnership.
The daughter of Australian ‘crocodile hunter’ Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 from a stingray barb continued: ‘That’s why I’m thrilled to be empowering kids.’
But her comments immediately sparked a public backlash – Orlando based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc has been dogged by controversy ever since the award-winning film documentary Blackfish, was released last year.
The film looked into the treatment of killer whales at the company’s theme parks.
After the release of the film, SeaWorld suffered a deluge of bad press, protests and boycotts by a number of performers, including Willie Nelson and The Beach Boys.
However Bindi seems to be oblivious to company’s current negative image and continued: “I’m thrilled to be partnered up with SeaWorld. Thrilled to be part of this new project Generation Nature and just encouraging kids to change the world.”
The teen actress and tv presenter urged viewers to log into seaworldkids.com , and set off an avalanche of Twitter criticism over her partnership.
One critic of her decision to team up with the marine life theme parks, Amanda Holliday, tweeted: ‘How much do you think #SeaWorld had to pay Bindi Irwin to try to fix their image?’
Another from Pat Fitzgerald read: ‘@BindiIrwin Have you seen #Blackfish? Please do not bring shame to your fathers name by colluding with #SeaWorld.’
SeaWorld has parks in San Diego, Orlando and San Antionio in the US, and is not related to the Sea World park on the Gold Coast, in Queensland.
The company has attempted to hit back at the content of the Blackfish documentary since it premiered at the Sundance film festival in January last year.
Blackfish explores what may have caused a 12,000-pound killer whale named Tilikum to kill Dawn Brancheau, a veteran SeaWorld trainer.
Brancheau was pulled into a pool and drowned in 2010.
The orca also was involved in two other deaths. The documentary argues that killer whales, when in captivity, become more aggressive to humans and each other.
Since the documentary, several entertainers have pulled out of planned performances at SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. parks. Several musical acts pulled out of SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew and BBQ concert series in February, citing the documentary “Blackfish.” The list included Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, 38 Special, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson and Heart.
Many of the performers cancelled after fans started a campaign petition on the advocacy website Change.org.
SeaWorld launched an aggressive online and media campaign against the film, including putting full-page ads in America’s biggest-selling newspapers which were titled: “Open Letter from SeaWorld’s Animal Advocates”.
They have also invested $US70 million ($78 million) in improving its killer-whale habitats the past three years.