Country singer Willie Nelson and rock bands Heart and Barenaked Ladies have canceled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida. This comes after CNN’s documentary “Blackfish” – focused on Tilikum, an orca currently held by SeaWorld and the way the park treats animal in captivity. The film had huge impact and many petitions had started after its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on 19 January 2013.
Willie Nelson is the latest act to cancel a concert at Orlando’s SeaWorld in the wake of CNN’s “Blackfish” documentary. The legendary country singer’s decision comes after the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies pulled the plug on their show at the Florida theme park. SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck confirmed Nelson’s decision not to sing at SeaWorld. But the spokesman said the reasons weren’t tied to the recent documentary on SeaWorld’s captive killer whales and a resulting petition calling on acts not to play SeaWorld. Instead, the Sea World spokesman cited scheduling conflicts in the Nelson cancellation. “I understand there are petitions going around with thousands of people’s names on it, so I had to cancel. Also, I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals. It wasn’t that hard a deal for me,” Nelson is quoted as saying.
A posting on Heart’s official Twitter page said the decision was influenced by the recently-released documentary “Blackfish.” “The Sea World show was planned long ago as an Orlando show,” the tweet said.”Had we known, we’d have said no then. We said no today. Love you all.”
When the Barenaked Ladies nixed their plans to play at SeaWorld last week, they explained that it was a decision made after viewing “Blackfish.” “This is a complicated issue, and we don’t claim to understand all of it, but we don’t feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time,” the band said on a Facebook post.
Joan Jett on Monday also joined the list of recording artists distancing themselves from the marine park when she sent a letter to SeaWorld President Jim Atchison asking that the park stop using her song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” as the opening music for its “Shamu Rocks” show.