Blackstone CEO Claims That Had He Watched Blackfish He Would Not Have Made a Mistake

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Blackstone sold off much of their SeaWorld stock.
Blaming the victim while making a fortune.

Yesterday’s statement by the CEO of the Blackstone Group blaming SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau for her own death came as a surprise, and counters what SeaWorld representatives have stated under oath in the past – however it is in alignment with the initial statements put forth by SeaWorld in the days following the tragedy.

The top executive at SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.’s largest shareholder suggested that former SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau should be blamed for her own death, claiming that the veteran animal trainer broke multiple safety rules before she was pulled into a tank and killed by a six-ton orca in February 2010.
SeaWorld “had one safety lapse — interestingly, with a situation where the person involved violated all the safety rules that we had,” Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive officer of private-equity giant Blackstone Group, said in an interview Thursday on CNBC. Orlando Sentinel.

SeaWorld has spent a considerable amount of money and energy lately trying to undermine and deflect the effectiveness of the film Blackfish, but they are unable to make much progress – it just isn’t possible to rewrite history in this age of independent media. For instance, ABC news (see below) was able to obtain medical information on another incident in which a whale attacked a trainer and left him paralyzed. What SeaWorld doesn’t want you to know is that the whale was partially blind, and the trainers were not fully informed:

Schwartzman later recanted his statement about Dawn Brancheau’s death, and claimed to have been uninformed having never watched Blackfish – if that is true it means that indifference to the health and safety of the trainers goes all the way to the top of the corporate ladder, as long as the show goes on and billions of dollars are taken from families’ pockets to build corporate assets. And had he watched the film, he would have seen that a SeaWorld spokesman also blamed the victim in the days following the attack and that it was only after a thorough investigation by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) that they reversed their statements.

“Mr. Schwarzman was unaware of the precise circumstances of the incident, which occurred nearly four years ago, and his comments did not accurately reflect the facts of the accident or SeaWorld’s longstanding position on it. Dawn’s death remains a source of great sadness for her family, friends and colleagues and Blackstone regrets the error.”Orlando Sentinel.

The problem for SeaWorld and Blackstone is that there is no way to sugar-coat the fact that keeping whales in tanks is not healthy or safe for the people who work with them.  The question is, do they really care?

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