SeaWorld's public relations team is yet again jumping blindly into the wild waters of the internet — only to be met with a virtual tidal wave of backlash.
As part of a revamped ad campaign, the company, which has been heavily criticized for its treatment of captive orca whales, created a website to answer the public's questions. Using #AskSeaWorld, Twitter users can ask anything, and SeaWorld will post it on a central site. So far, the ones posted have been pretty tame; they include "How does SeaWorld care for their killer whales?" and "How long do killer whales live?"
But on Twitter, it's another story. A quick glance at the hashtag will give a pretty good idea of how Twitter is responding to the campaign. Here are a few select questions that SeaWorld has yet to address:
Some users wondered about the company's motivations ...
Others just came right out and said it.
More than one pointed out the company's misleading statements about separating orca whale mothers from their calves ...
… and the documented animal welfare issues at the park.
Some were shocked that SeaWorld would even invite such public criticism, given their less-than-successful history with social media.
Some, like professional race car driver Leilani Munter, were outright blocked from even asking questions.
And just in time, Conan O'Brien weighed in on the debacle with his version of a new ad campaign for SeaWorld: