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Blackfish Taking Toll on SeaWorld: CEO Steps Down, Layoffs Coming

Blackfish Taking Toll on SeaWorld: CEO Steps Down, Layoffs Coming

Blackfish Taking Toll on SeaWorld: CEO Steps Down, Layoffs Coming

SeaWorld's reputation took a big hit with the release of the documentary Blackfish. Now, come the repercussions.

For tourists visiting Orlando or San Diego, SeaWorld was long a destination. But the parks' parent company, SeaWorld Entertainment, has been struggling with declining attendance due in part to the 2013 Blackfish documentary, which questioned the logic of keeping orcas in captivity.

SeaWorld Entertainment's CEO, Jim Atchison, is stepping down as CEO, the company announced Thursday. There will also be an undisclosed amount of layoffs, according to SeaWorld's statement.

SeaWorlds operate in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio. The parenty company also operates other water parks and two Busch Gardens properties.

Tilikum, a 33-year-old bull orca that resides at the Orlando park, has been responsible for the deaths of three people; the most recent being a 40-year-old trainer killed horrifically four years ago while audiences watched. The well-received Blackfish placed responsibility on SeaWorld for keeping Tilikum and other orcas away from the wild, which they suggest contributed to the orca's aggression. SeaWorld countered by saying the film was biased and didn't take into account the animals saved by the parks and the millions they contribute to conservation efforts.

Read more here.

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