An Open Letter to Our Followers

An Open Letter to Our Followers,

We here at SeaWorld Truth wish to express our thoughts regarding the recent news of the restructuring and employee layoffs occurring within the SeaWorld parks. First however, we would like to reiterate that this Twitter feed is not owned or controlled by anyone associated with or connected to SeaWorld in any way. We are not funded or endorsed by SeaWorld. We are private citizens who have a love and appreciation for SeaWorld, and we want to share that with others. Our words are entirely our own, and are not controlled or endorsed by SeaWorld.

We created our Twitter account and our blog for two purposes. First, we wanted to showcase SeaWorld’s multiple rescue and rehabilitation stories and bring our followers news and information relevant to the parks. Second, we created our Twitter account and blog as a way of showing our support for SeaWorld. We realize that there are those members of the public who do not share these same sentiments, and we respect that. Everyone must choose who and what they support, and we respect that everyone has differing beliefs and opinions. We aren’t out there to make any claim that we are right and others are wrong. We aren’t out to criticize differing opinions. Our goal is to provide our followers with an opportunity to learn about SeaWorld just as we have. We hope to instill the same passion for animals in our followers as SeaWorld has instilled into us.

As we have mentioned in several of our tweets previously, we have endeavored to practice what we call positive reinforcement tweeting, meaning that we don’t give a response to tweets that are rude or offensive towards us, SeaWorld, or our followers. We model this after SeaWorld’s own training methods, which give reinforcement to desired behaviors while ignoring undesirable ones. We are well aware that over the past four years there has been a continuous onslaught of negative social media commentary directed towards SeaWorld. There has been anti-SeaWorld legislation introduced as well as attacks upon SeaWorld rescue team members engaged in animal rescues. This behavior disturbs us greatly, and in our view is unnecessary and counterproductive.

We are deeply saddened to see the intense level of incomprehensible hatred towards SeaWorld that has been generated as a direct result of deliberate misinformation and blatant untruths. The purpose for this open letter is not to engage in debate of those points. There are other forums for those discussions. Ours was not designed to be such a forum. We write this letter for a different purpose. We all know that SeaWorld has been under repeated attacks over the past four years, both by private citizens and public entities who have been driven by one thing…hate. Through individual and collective actions and words, there are many who have made their negative sentiments towards SeaWorld known quite vociferously.

However, there are others who are equally as passionate about showing their support for SeaWorld. We stand united with this group of individuals in expressing our support towards every employee of SeaWorld parks, and especially those who have been affected by these recent restructuring efforts and layoffs. We know how dedicated and devoted each of you are to SeaWorld. We can’t imagine how difficult a time this is for you, for your families, and for all of SeaWorld. We are holding the entire SeaWorld family in our hearts, and hoping for the best resolution to this difficult situation.

We are also issuing an invitation to all of those who have been critical of SeaWorld to take a moment and step back to view a larger picture than themselves or their agendas. We know that there are passionate and hardcore beliefs on both sides of this issue. We respect the sensibilities of both sides. What we cannot respect however, are blatant attacks, bullying, threats of physical violence, and harm towards any SeaWorld employee or those who support them. We call on any person or groups who have been involved in such behavior to step back and reevaluate. We ask them to put themselves into the position of their intended targets and to ask themselves if they would care to be treated as they have treated these others. Hatred and violence in any degree or form do nothing to further an agenda, no matter how passionate the petitioners are in their beliefs.

We respect the rights of individuals to form their own opinions, but we are calling on them to express them with respect. We see no need for hateful, angry or threatening social media messages towards SeaWorld. We see no need for threats of violence towards the rescue team members who are doing their jobs. We also see no need for rejoicing at the reality of hundreds of SeaWorld employees who have lost their jobs.

These are good people who work many long, hard, and grueling hours so that others have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate all that SeaWorld has to offer. We hope that the public sees these employees as people, and would treat them with the same compassion and respect that they would wish to be treated with if they were in the position of having just lost their job. We are all capable of goodness and compassion even if we all don’t agree. We aren’t asking for anyone to agree with or embrace SeaWorld’s philosophies as their own. We choose to do so, but we would never compel another to think the same. All we are asking is for the critics to take into consideration that this issue has gone beyond the argument of captive or wild. There are people’s livelihoods and emotional sensibilities to think about here.

When some people rejoice in the hardships or sufferings of others and then claim it as a victory for their side, we lose something in our humanity there. Surely we can all have an opinion and express ourselves respectfully without resorting to tearing others down in our quests to be right. We are only asking that before you type that angry social media message to SeaWorld or speak those harsh words to a SeaWorld employee or do those actions, you ask yourself, “How would I feel if these words or actions were directed towards me?”

We don’t expect everyone to feel or think the way we do, and we would never force our own personal opinion on anyone. What we will do is just ask everyone to try to make an effort to show the same kindness and compassion that you would want to be shown to you. That’s all we want.

Who will be the first to start? You?

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