In a confusing move, SeaWorld is now seeking a restraining order against a PETA vice president and two of the organization’s supporters who were roughed up by the San Diego park’s head of security in July.
During one of the park’s “Orca Encounter” shows, a group of demonstrators stood up in front of the audience and held up signs reading “SeaWorld Kills” while American Horror Story star James Cromwell pulled out a megaphone and told parkgoers about the real-life horror story endured by the marine animals trapped there.
Security officers immediately tried to make the demonstrators leave, so they locked arms and went limp in a display of nonviolent civil disobedience as Cromwell told the audience that “SeaWorld must build sanctuaries for these animals now—before it’s too late.”
The protesters were taken out of sight, where the park’s head of security—who was dressed in plain clothes and didn’t identify himself—came at them in a threatening manner, trying to wrestle their phones and purses away from them, pressing his knee into one protester’s chest until she yelled that she couldn’t breathe, throwing another to the ground, and forcing PETA Vice President Lisa Lange’s head onto the ground while pressing his knee into her back.
“He assaulted us as we sat peacefully doing everything that security asked of us,” Lange says. “While the uniformed security guards understood that we were peaceful, undid our handcuffs, and chatted with us, he came on like a hurricane, grabbing at our stuff and slamming us onto the ground.” She and two other PETA protesters later filed a complaint asking that assault and battery charges be pressed against the head of security. They’re the same three people that SeaWorld is now seeking a restraining order against.
“It’s confusing to me that instead of telling the head of security that he’s not allowed to beat up park visitors, SeaWorld is retaliating with a restraining order,” Lange explains. “But this odd response is par for the course for this park—it’s the same place that instead of releasing the animals it holds captive into seaside sanctuaries, is digging its heels in and losing money and visitors because of a complete lack of vision.”
SeaWorld’s violent response to protesters doesn’t help its ugly image, especially considering that six animals have died in the parks this year alone and its stock prices just hit an all-time low. Seemingly, so have its morals.