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SeaWorld's Response to 'Blackfish' Just Cost Them $5 Million

Five years after the release of "Blackfish," the marine mammal park chain is still paying for the film's backlash — literally.


If you've watched the documentary "Blackfish," then you probably understand why SeaWorld might not like the film very much.

And if you somehow haven't seen the movie yet, the first thing to know is that the film's main objective was to illustrate how much of a negative impact SeaWorld has had on whales through its killer whale program. This is a program that included forced captivity and breeding.

It's also important to know that the response to the movie was so widespread that it resulted in something that was later named the "Blackfish effect."

In other words, the documentary hurt SeaWorld's business a lot. It also changed its business. As the Huffington Post reports, just three years after the film was released, SeaWorld announced it would end its orca breeding program and show.

The same HuffPo article goes on to discuss how this choice by the theme park is more of a response to the drop in business than the film itself.

Just one year after "Blackfish's" release, SeaWorld's stock dropped a reported 60 percent.

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Now, five years after "Blackfish" and the corresponding Blackfish effect, SeaWorld is still paying for the film's backlash (literally). As the New York Times reports, now SeaWorld is paying $5 million to investors. Why?

Because according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in the years after the Blackfish effect, the company publicly announced that the effect wasn't really hurting them at all — despite the fact that this wasn't true.

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The thing about publicly traded companies is they're required to be honest about things that will negatively impact business.

As a press release from the SEC announced, now SeaWorld is paying to settle fraud charges for not being entirely truthful about the Blackfish effect and "misleading" investors. The former vice president of SeaWorld's communications also settled a fraud charge for his role in the matter.

While SeaWorld officials didn't officially confirm or deny the fraud in a statement to the New York Times about the matter, it's fair to assume that the company is ready to have "Blackfish" and the Blackfish effect behind them.

Only time will tell, though, if that is even possible after the film's lasting effect on viewers.

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