And when it finally did go public with its response to the film, it did so in a completely non-transparent way -- undertaking a closed-shop public-relations campaign predicated around websites, videos, and ads. And the primary subject of that campaign has not been an effort to rebut the factual issues raised by the film, but an attack on the people involved in the film and an attempt to impugn their motives. A smear campaign.
Which is why, at a deep level, SeaWorld is losing. It is now fighting off legislative attempts to outlaw orca captivity. Its stock has been in decline. Its chief stockholder, Blackstone Group, recently sold off large shares. More importantly, its attendance figures are in decline, with no sign that the trend will be reversing anytime soon. Indeed, the more people who see Blackfish the more likely it is to accelerate.
This campaign is embodied by SeaWorld's web-based effort at responding to the film, namely, its website titled "The Truth About Blackfish."
At first glance, the site looks on its slick surface like a sincere attempt to humanize the people who still work at Sea World. But when you start going through its actual content, what quickly emerges is not a humanizing of Sea World but -- beyond an array of picked nits and distorted "facts" -- the website is in fact mostly a relentless smear of the people who spoke up in the film.