Olivia Harrison
September 01, 2015 1:52 pm

I’ve been done with SeaWorld for a while. After watching the documentary Blackfish a few years ago, I made my vow, along with many others, to never visit SeaWorld again. In case you’re unfamiliar, this particular documentary focuses on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the death of three people. It also explores the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity and is definitely worth a watch. After watching the film, I told everyone I know to add it to their Netflix queue immediately, so they too could take the pledge of never returning to SeaWorld.

I successfully convinced several of my friends of SeaWorld’s appalling practices, but I could never have the same effect that one of our fave boy banders had recently. According to analysts at Credit Suisse, SeaWorld’s brand is in serious trouble, and One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles may have played a significant role their dip in attendance. At a recent concert, Styles asked if there were any dolphin fans in the audience. In reply to screeches of excitement over dolphins (which I totally get, by the way, because dolphins are my spirit animal), he declared that fans shouldn’t go to SeaWorld. See the epic moment for yourself:

After this incident, Business Insider reported, “SeaWorld has seen a 400% spike in mentions, and a 13% increase in negative commentary…And the ratio of positive to negative comments was negative 68% — showing that Harry has single-handedly showered pain on the amusement park’s reputation.”

Maybe Harry shouldn’t take all the blame for this latest round of bad press though. SeaWorld also recently received criticism for allegedly placing a SeaWorld employee undercover at PETA. According to Credit Suisse, Harry’s comments and the undercover PETA incident were the top two reasons for the brand’s negative direction in recent months.

SeaWorld’s profits have steadily been declining — revenue dropped 3% in the second quarter of 2015. But they’re responding to the decline by launching a new ad campaign and donating $10 million to research and conservation, Business Insider reports. It’s definitely a step in the right direction for rebuilding good will, but who knows if that will be enough. Once Directioners turn on you, is there ever really any coming back?

(Image via ShutterStock.)

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