August 24, 2010

ICYMI: Former SeaWorld Employee's Shocking Allegations

Posted: 11:19 AM ET
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Gerald Jolly   August 24th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

Most certainly!

No surprises there.

Greed and self serving agendas usually winde up in someone paying the ultimate price.

Joe G. (Illinois)   August 24th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

If people want to be entertained.. What’s wrong with baseball, beer, hot dogs? Always going for the exotic perversions, human, animal, and or otherwise..!

Colleen, St. Pete Beach, Florida   August 24th, 2010 3:50 pm ET

It was a great interview and I must say I have the upmost respect for Linda Simons and her attorney, Mr. Arcadia. I do wish that the segment could have gone at least 5 minutes longer – or the entire hour as this only skims the surface of what is really behind this story.
For one thing – OSHA is doing their job and that can only be done with information that is forthcoming. SeaWorld was and is clearly holding back information that they do not want OSHA, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and most importantly – the average public to know about.

What we really need to focus on is the fact that in the first moments of the "incident" with Tilikum, SeaWorld publicly claimed that Dawn Brancheau "slipped and fell" into the pool with Tilly. Then they said, he grabbed her (due to eyewitnesses coming forward) and then after they realized that Dawn's scalp had been completely ripped off her head (and they had to retrieve it from the bottom of the pool along with her whistle) – they ran with the "ponytail theory" as if this would convince people that Tilikum was just playing.

It also needs to be pointed out that Dawn Brancheau (who I pray rests in peace) had her left arm taken off, and she also had her breast bone/plate broken. Not only that but many other injuries no one talks about. And why not? Why aren't more people asking – why didn't Tilikum allow for Dawn to surface even though witnesses saw her trying to due so a few times? And why is SeaWorld trying to play this off as though, "Yes, we knew the dangers of Tilikum but, Dawn is the one who made the mistake – all the other orcas in captivity are fine – and now OSHA has no idea what they are talking about by claiming we had "willfully" broken the rules – so therefore – OSHA and this Linda Simons are only out to get us."

People need to know that Tilikum would not give Dawn up and that the process it took to recover her (over 30 minutes) was not a simple matter. SeaWorld put Dawn as well as all of their employees in danger by allowing them to go near Tilikum.
This is surely not an animal who was playing with his possession. Orcas are highly conscious creatures and know the difference between "playing and killing". To have the OCSD call this an "accident" is in my opinion, is a farce.

People also need to know that Jan Topoleski's accounts of her hair "drifting" into Tilikum's mouth is not the truth. After reviewing video tapes just seconds prior to the "grab", Jan is no where near Dawn and her hair is on her back and completely dry. Jan T. can also be seen walking around with investigators shortly after the incident making one wonder; why didn't SeaWorld come out and state that it was a ponytail grab from the beginning. It wasn't until the next day they made such claims.

There is a long list of "incidents" and yes, deaths to trainers that no one seems to talk about. In my opinion, by putting these animals who have a high sense of awareness and live with their families for life (given the chance in the wild) – you are setting up a recipe for disaster.

We have come to a time in our society where keeping these amazing creatures captive and reducing them to aquatic clowns in the name of "education and preservation" is really nothing more than profiting by exploitation of a free-ranging creature.

There is much more to this story – I hope you will be following it in the coming days and doing another segment on it soon.


Colleen – St. Pete Beach, Florida

Harry   August 24th, 2010 6:00 pm ET

It's interesting to see different people's perspectives of the incident that occurred at Sea World. And seeing certain comments, it tells me those people have never worked with live animals before. I would suspect that Sea World had several contradictory responses as the days/weeks went on because they, themselves, had no real idea what actually took place. It takes time to look it over and try to come up with the whys and hows.

If there weren't these shows and aquariums across the country, we would have no idea what goes on out in "nature", and I would like to bet people wouldn't care. Having animals be "spokespeople" allows those of us who don't have the means to go see them in their natural settings a chance to see them up close. Some animals have a special calling to people and those are the ones that end up getting loads of funding for research... Without that money and therefore the research, chances are people wouldn't care about conserving the precious ecosystems those animals live in.

So without the dolphins that are held at zoos and aquariums, I highly doubt there would be as many people out there trying to save them. Not only them, but the coral reefs around which they live. I just wish people would actually think of the big picture and not keep themselves in their "animal activists" mind set.

Dodie   August 24th, 2010 6:05 pm ET

@ Colleen, St. Pete Beach, Florida

Well thought out and stated! Hopefully, others will read what you wrote. You are right on target on all accounts. Next to the bottle nose dolphin, these beings are in the same category as Homo sapiens! I am sure the scientific world still becomes irritated when confronting their level of intelligence as possibly the same or higher than ours.

LIZ CARTER in GEORGIA   August 24th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Larry, why did you all delete my comment? I thought it was pretty sensible. Was it because I was a little too sympathetic to the WHALE and SEA WORLD? They weren't going to risk a trainers' life, risk a hike in insurance premiums and ultimately an accidental death law suit, KNOWINGLY! The trainer loved and played with him often! He was her baby! KILLERWHALE? WHO KNEW? We don't know what distracted him that day! I guess the ex-employee is having to make up his rent money some way! I DON'T BELIEVE HIM ONE BIT!

nina1fox   August 24th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

Tillikum, has also been connected with two other deaths, one at Sealand of the Pacific, Canada in 1991 in which the trainer was drowned and the drowning at SeaWorld with a trespasser in 1999.

Sandra Okoye (Nigeria)   August 25th, 2010 6:18 am ET

Human beings and animals have their different ups and down,I would say that Tillikum wasn't up for any show. You train these animals,play with them all the time,undersatnd them,but do you really? There are other ways of entertaining people,this is amazing but to me is extremly risky and dangerous.

Art McAulton   August 30th, 2010 10:19 pm ET

Aloha Mr. King..
We veiwed your show about Mr. Obama and the many people that feel he is a "Muslum". Speaking for all of the people in Hawaii, the President of the United States was born and raised here. We believe
that no matter where you are born, its the culture you are raised in that makes you what you are. Here we are raised to treat all, as family, and
to respect them as Hawaiians. Its not the "blood" or the "nationality ,
or the color of your skin, (80% of the people here are dark colored
skin) that makes you Hawaiian. Its where your heart is.
That is why, when you visit here, you will find the "ALOHA" that so many thousands have found, and return every year for more. Come
get your share, and you will find out why our President thinks and feels the way he does, as we remain, respectfully yours,
Aloha Mr. King,

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