Ever since the documentary "Blackfish" accused Sea World of mistreating its animals, PETA has hammered the amusement park chain, alleging anything it says or does cannot be trusted.
Now the animal rights group claims the amusement park chain has reached a new level of fishiness, accusing a SeaWorld employee of infiltrating their organization and attempting to incite riots within the ranks.
Here's what they're saying:
"'Jones'" joined PETA’s Action Team using a P.O. Box in San Diego that we discovered was registered to Ric Marcelino, the director of security for SeaWorld San Diego," the group says. "He constantly 'fished' [yes they actually say that here — ed.] for information from PETA staffers about protests against SeaWorld."
PETA's main piece of evidence: After being arrested for sitting in front of SeaWorld's float in the 2014 Rose Parade, they say, Jones/McComb "suddenly vanished" when the other protesters were booked and later released on bail.
"His name never even appeared on arrest sheets," they write.
The photos of Jones/McComb from the event, they say, match with a Facebook photo of a man named Paul McComb with his wife. Bloomberg's Chris Palmeri, who was the first to report the accusations, says the photo has since been taken down.
They also link to a Twitter handle for Thomas Jones, "animal advocate," that was active for just a year.
They also accuse Jones/McComb of apparently attempting to incite PETA members to act illegally, having said things like "it’s time to 'get a little aggressive,'" and calling for “direct action,” to “grab pitchforks and torches.”
SeaWorld has not directly addressed the claims directly but has released this statement:
“We are focused on the safety of our team members, guests and animals, and beyond that we do not comment on our security operations,” Fred Jacobs, a SeaWorld spokesman, said the statement. “This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, especially as animal rights groups have become increasingly extreme in their rhetoric and tactics.”
Attendance at Sea World continues to recover from the hit it took after the release of "Blackfish" in 2013, climbing 5.6% to 3.2 million in the first quarter of this year. But it saw a net loss of $44 million, and its share price remains well below 2013 levels.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.