February 9, 2014

Cornell Alumna Exposes Abuses at SeaWorld

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The 2013 documentary Blackfish, which seeks to expose the dangers of keeping killer whales in captivity, was screened at Cornell Cinema on Feb. 6 and followed by a Skype Q&A session with cast member and former SeaWorld trainer Samantha Berg ’89.

The film tells the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale who was “involved in the deaths” of three people, and it was well-received in film festivals, being shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar and nominated for Bafta’s Best Documentary Award. According to students who attended the screening, the film was very persuasive.

“I had seen some interviews with the director so I wanted to see the movie and support it,” said Jaimee Alsing ’14, “I definitely won’t go to SeaWorld now.”

During the Q&A session, Berg said she became disillusioned with her experience after fellow trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tilikum on Feb. 2010. Brancheau had worked with Tilikum for 16 years, according to the film.

In the 2013 documentary Blackfish, Samantha Berg ’89 exposes the ugly truth of keeping killer whales in captivity. (Courtesy Of CNN Films)