Martina McBride cancels SeaWorld gig over ‘Blackfish’ backlash

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(CNN) — Add Martina McBride to the list of musical acts canceling SeaWorld shows because of issues raised in the documentary “Blackfish.”

“I’ve decided that given all the issues that have been aired recently, the time isn’t right for me to play at Seaworld,” the singer posted on her Facebook page over the weekend. “I have canceled my scheduled performance at the Bands, Blues & BBQ event in March 2014.”

The announcement makes her at least the seventh to drop out.

REO Speedwagon announced its cancellation on Friday.

A promoter could put together a great concert series with the acts that have canceled SeaWorld shows in the past several weeks, including Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart and Barenaked Ladies.

The acts bailed on the Orlando theme park’s concert series amid pressure from fans who started online petitions and took to social media.

The fans became upset after watching the documentary “Blackfish,” which first aired on CNN in October. The film tells the story of the killing in 2010 of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca. It raises questions about the safety and humaneness of keeping killer whales in captivity.

SeaWorld confirmed the REO Speedwagon withdrawal Friday and referred CNN to its previous statements about the cancellations.

“We expect that other artists will be targeted in this campaign,” SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck told CNN in consecutive statements Wednesday and Thursday, starting with Cheap Trick’s cancellation.

The park’s six-week concert schedule — which also previously listed 38 Special, Justin Moore and Scotty McCreery — has disappeared from SeaWorld’s website. It now simply promises “incredible concerts with top artists in classic rock and country music.”

SeaWorld is working to book replacement acts, Gollattscheck said.

“We’ll announce the full lineup of bands when all artists have been confirmed. We’ll repost the schedule on our site then.”

The Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies was the first to cancel, reacting to a petition posted on Change.org.

“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 its Facebook page.

“I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals,” Willie Nelson said on December 6 when he canceled. “It wasn’t that hard a deal for me.”

Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart did not elaborate last week when they announced their decision to cancel at SeaWorld, although they acknowledged it was “due to the controversial documentary film.”

“We’re disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld,” Gollattscheck said.

SeaWorld said it would like the musical artists to learn for themselves about SeaWorld.

“The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals,” Gollattscheck said.

SeaWorld says the documentary ignores the park’s conservation efforts and research.

By Alan Duke

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6 comments

    • Kathie Davis

      Tilikum was captured in the north sea when he was 4 years old. If you watch Keiko, The Untold Story, you would see that they can, indeed, be set free after retraining them and allowing them to spend time with their orca families. Despite what people will say, Keiko lived 5 more years, free and happy, in the wild with his family. He was already old by captured orca standards – run down and not in the best of health but after release, gained 3 tons! That says a lot!

      • bluedarkness24

        Even through Shamu die, his family is still working hard to keep his name in vain. The trainers work hard everyday to help out and protect these animals from oil spills and stupid people that hunt down these beautiful animals. Seaworld and the other parks that have captivity animals are NOT bad people they have relationships with these animals and are their best friends that will share their loyalty no matter where they are! Also I’ve seen the videos for Keiko, they’re sad and it says a lot that in 90’s that it was pretty rude for some people to believe that these animals were treated like toys. I love Seaworld, no matter what everyone else thinks!

  • Monica Martin

    Well, maybe they need to show the public on how they treat the animals. That might help their cause. Do like a documentary showing the day to day. Its a shame what happened to that trainer. Whether it has to do with how the Orca was treated we dont really know for sure. However, I think Sea World should do what they can to put the public at ease regarding the treatment of all their animals. I agree with bluedarkness24. These animals can not survive if they are let go. They would die not long after being released if they were released which I dont think Sea world would do because I honestly think they care for these animals.