Skift reports SeaWorld's CEO, after denying his employees posed as animal rights activists to infiltrate PETA, has admitted to conducting a covert operation.
In a report to stockholders, Joel Manby acknowledged corporate spies were sent by SeaWorld "to maintain the safety and security of employees, customers and animals in the face of credible threats.”
But a PETA spokesperson says SeaWorld sent agents provocateurs to bait PETA's people.
“SeaWorld’s corporate espionage campaign tried to coerce kind people into setting SeaWorld on fire or draining its tanks, which would have hurt the animals, in an attempt to distract from its cruelty and keep PETA from exposing the miserable lives of the animals it imprisons,” Tracy Reiman said.
SeaWorld's spokespeople have clammed up, claiming further comment would disclose "confidential business information related to the company’s security practices."
SeaWorld has been angling to fix its damaged brand for three years, after the movie Blackfish sent park attendance reeling and put profits in the tank.
As a case study in floundering PR, this one's a keeper.