I cannot count the times I have written blogs about the media and their downright negative bias toward the public relations industry. I cannot count the times I have chided people for complaining that businesses have “PR problems,” when, in reality, they have organizational issues the communications team is working through as best they can.
But, I can count the number of times I have been absolutely embarrassed to be a part of this industry…one, and it was this week.
“All I know is the public relations side of it.”
“The PR spin on this was that he died of hypothermia, but the coroner reports were more graphic than that…stripped off his clothes, bit of his genitals…”
Just three of more than a dozen quotes I counted about PR folks’ blatant miscommunications and downright lies spanning decades documented in Blackfish, a 2013 documentary on the gruesome truths behind all the “fun” at SeaWorld.
SeaWorld vice president of communications Fred Jacobs declined any on-camera interviews in response to this film, but he did answer several questions in print, available here.
Oftentimes, one of the hardest parts of this job is saying no – to a media request, to a client idea, to a boss, to a colleague.
If even half of this film, wherein several former SeaWorld trainers go on record and are substantiated with video evidence, the communications team – then and now – at this tourism giant should be ashamed. Both these “communications professionals” and the animals in the park should be “set free.”
Side note – I do have a bias in this. Kalina, the first “Baby Shamu” born at SeaWorld, was born on September 26, 1980, which was the same day as me. Kalina died in 2010 at just 30 years old. This past summer, my husband and I visited Alaska, where we saw whales documented well into their 80s, as whales often live as longer of longer than humans.