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'Blackfish' pushes Heart, Barenaked Ladies to cancel SeaWorld appearances

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Dec 09, 2013 10:28 AM EST

Heart

The hot new protest movement among musicians, and folks in general, is against the captivity of killer whales at marine theme parks such as Sea World, and several acts have jumped onboard in recent weeks. The Barenaked Ladies and Heart both cancelled shows at SeaWorld Orlando. Willie Nelson also cancelled his event at the venue, and although he cited scheduling conflicts as part of the decision, he added "what they do at Sea World is not OK."

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The multiple cancellations come amidst the rising popularity of the film Blackfish, a documentary that focuses on killer whale Tilikum, his captivity, and the dangers that captivity posed to both the whale and its human keepers. The crux of the film draws issue with how SeaWorld takes care of such creatures, arguing that the huge animals react badly to being kept in captive confines. Tilikum was the prime example for the movie, as he's been at least partially involved in the deaths of three people, including trainer Dawn Brancheau after a performance during 2010. SeaWorld, naturally, argues that the film is misleading. 

The Barenaked Ladies reportedly viewed the film before opting to pull out of their Sea World Show in protest. Activists started a petition on change.org in order to convince Heart against playing the venue as well. More than 2,000 signatures were received. Heart member Nancy Wilson tweeted that they hadn't been in charge of booking the venue for the show, but said if they had known then "we'd have said no then. We said no today."

At the moment, no other touring musicians are scheduled to play shows at SeaWorld. 

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