Love it FORBES: $eaWorld's Popularity Tanks As #Blackfish Doc Makes A Splash http://t.co/1QzzNV2g6o @orcasos @oceancries @mobrock @orcawild
The piece, which you can read cached on Google here on on Imgur.com here, takes a distinctly anti-SeaWorld stance, citing David Kirby, author of "Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity." Kirby says that SeaWorld is backed into a corner, making a "desperate move" to print full-page advertisements in several major newspapers defending themselves against "Blackfish."
What's more assured is that, in an era of increasing corporate dominance, a low-budget investigative work can still send shock waves through an established corporation with a once pristine reputation. "SeaWorld used to be the darling of the media," said Kirby.
"Blackfish" seems to have taken its place.
Forbes.com pulled the piece from the website sometime Thursday evening. Shortly after, McWilliams announced that he would no longer be contributing to Forbes. He took to his blog, The Pitchfork, to respond, suggesting that Forbes, which is owned by the same company as SeaWorld, caved to corporate pressures:
Well folks, I suppose it was bound to happen. I wrote a dozen pieces for Forbes.com and enjoyed it very much. But the 13th–an article critical of SeaWorld (a 2.5 billion dollar company partially owned by the Blackstone Group) and praiseworthy of ‘Blackfish" (made on a small budget)–rattled some corporate cages. After I posted, management demanded changes that I could not, in good conscience, make. So the article got pulled (after 77,000 hits in one day) and I left my position. Honestly, the experience, brief as it was, was a good one. Until today, when it wasn't.
McWilliams also reposted the article, and it soon became a media event itself, making it to the top of Reddit's r/movies subreddit. He posted again on Friday, clarifying his decision to stop working for Forbes and denying some who would call him a "hero" for it:
The other thing to note is that I did not leave under conditions of animosity. There was little drama in this drama. I'm not going to go into the details, but I was hired to blog and it became clear in the Blackfish piece (and hinted at in some earlier ones) that Forbes.com is more interested in bloggers writing stories that stick to conventional reporting tactics rather than writing with an opinion to advance (as I do). As I said, I realized that we were a mismatch. And that's really it.
Whether he meant it to or not, the piece -- and the story of its removal -- is making the rounds on social media already: