17 January 2014

Blackfish Backlash: The Beach Boys, Pat Benatar join large list of cancelled artists

After more than 1,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging the Beach Boys to cancel their performance at SeaWorld-owned Busch Gardens in Tampa, The Beach Boys and Pat Benatar have joined the ranks of Trace Adkins, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, REO Speedwagon, Trisha Yearwood, Barenaked Ladies, Cheap Trick, .38 Special, and Heart -- bringing the total number of cancelled performances at parks owned by SeaWorld to 11 amidst intense public pressure fueled by the popular documentary film Blackfish.

According to Tampa’s WFLA, Busch Gardens Tampa announced the cancellation last night on Twitter and released a statement on their Facebook page that read in part:  

"It’s disappointing that a digital harassment campaign enacted by animal activists led to denying thousands of fans what would have been two exciting concerts, but we’re committed to bringing our guests a great festival."

The Change.org petition was launched by Beach Boys fan Stephanie Wireman from Lexington, KY, who was inspired by successful Change.org petitions asking Martina McBride, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood, .38 Special, REO Speedwagon, and Trace Adkins to drop their performances at SeaWorld Orlando.

Says Stephanie: “The Beach Boys listened to more than 1,000 fans who signed my Change.org petition and all those who reached out to them on Facebook and Twitter, and they decided to stay away from SeaWorld's Busch Gardens theme park. No matter how SeaWorld tries to spin it, their brand is toxic and people who truly care about conservation will support sanctuaries and rescue organizations, not a billion dollar company making history for its record of exploiting animals.”

SeaWorld and Busch Garden’s Bands, Brew, and BBQ online concert listing removed all previously listed artists since the criticism began, as music fans and animal advocates have used Change.org to persuade the majority of artists to cancel performances at the theme park. Only two musicians, Justin Moore and Scotty McCreery, are still scheduled, and tens of thousands of people have signed petitions asking them to cancel their previously announced shows at SeaWorld.

Inspired by Blackfish, animal advocates and music fans have launched more than two dozen petitions on Change.org. One popular petition urges Southwest Air to drop its long-time corporate partnership with SeaWorld. Other petitions urge Toys”R”Us to stop selling a SeaWorld-themed Barbie and Groupon to stop offering discounts to SeaWorld parks.

A full list of active Blackfish-inspired petitions can be found at: http://www.change.org/campaigns/blackfish