I refused to let them do that to me, which is why speaking out in "Blackfish" and writing my book, "Beneath the Surface," was so important to me. The reception from readers and activists all over was overwhelmingly warm, and showed me that being a whistleblower was my role to play all along. Many people played a role: Their passion and grace created the perfect storm that not even a multibillion dollar corporation could overcome.
Even though the company fought back and used every dirty, unprofessional trick it could come up with, the SeaWorld brand has since been decimated and has not been able to fully recover.
With that said, I'm proud of my career for two main reasons. I started at age 20 with the best of intentions - I wanted to live my life with these magnificent animals and I had no clue what was really happening so I fought like hell to stop directives and protocols that were clearly not in the animals' best interest. And second, because of my career, and my years of direct hands-on experience, I am now able to testify about what truly happens to orcas in captivity, not just provide the sound bites and twisted truths that SeaWorld and other similar entities put out into the world.