SeaWorld was first accused of using spies on animal welfare groups last July, when PETA reported that Paul T. McCombe, a human resources employee at SeaWorld San Diego, had been using a false identity to work his way into a network of San Diego-area activists concerned with the company's ongoing orca captivity and breeding programs.
McCombe, using the alias Thomas Jones, was fond of inflammatory rhetoric and appeared to be trying to incite the activists to violence. "It's time for Direct [sic] action against #seaworld," one tweet read. "I need to find a way to personal [sic] stop them. I will be coming..."
"There were a number of red flags relating to this individual," Lindsay Rajt, spokesperson for PETA, told The Dodo at the time. "Any genuine animal advocate is not on social media saying things like, 'Burn SeaWorld to the ground and drain the tanks.'"
"These allegations, if true, are not consistent with the values of the SeaWorld organization and will not be tolerated," SeaWorld said at the time.