'Refuse to be a voyeur at a horror-show,' the Babe and American Horror Story actor said in a statement to EW, referring to the theme park's 'Orca Encounter' attraction
Babe and American Horror Story actor James Cromwell was arrested for trespassing Monday, San Diego police confirm to EW, after having recently served jail time for a 2015 arrest, this time for his participation in a protest at SeaWorld.
The actor led a PETA protest at SeaWorld San Diego’s “Orca Encounter” armed with a megaphone and wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed “SeaWorld Sucks.” Streamed live via PETA’s Facebook page, seen below, Cromwell is seen trying to inform the audience members about the park’s alleged history of marine mammal suffering and abuse, a topic explored in the 2013 documentary Blackfish, and called for a boycott of the park until the orcas are released into coastal sanctuaries.
“Orcas deserve a full life in the ocean, not a life sentence of swimming endless circles until they drop dead from disease,” said Cromwell. “My friends at PETA and I want SeaWorld to move these intelligent animals to seaside sanctuaries without delay.”
After several minutes, police are seen arresting the actor and fellow protestors, placing them in handcuffs before leading them away from the show, which continued during the incident. A representative for the San Diego Police Department tells tell EW that Cromwell was “cited for trespassing and released” and will “appear in court on a later date.”
In a statement obtained by EW, Cromwell addressed his objections to the theme park attraction.
“It is necessary to do whatever one can for these magnificent animals, who live, day after day, in such abject misery, their sides raked by the teeth of other angry orcas, who have nothing to vent their fury on but one-another, their dorsal fins flopped over to one side, their vascular systems compromised by living for years in a concrete tank filled with chemically treated water, aimlessly floating in place to break the endless monotony of swimming in small circles,” the 77-year-old Emmy winner and Oscar nominee said.
He continued: “Today, a baby Orca died at the SeaWorld in San Antonio. She was the granddaughter of Kasatka, who is here in San Diego, and who herself is dying of grief and mis-treatment. This three-month-old baby becomes the fortieth Orca to die at SeaWorld, none of them of old age. This has to stop. SeaWorld must invest in seaside sanctuaries, now. Let them at least live a natural life. They are family-oriented animals who have been separated from their families. To everyone I say, ‘End this nightmare. Vote with your wallet. Refuse to be a voyeur at a horror-show. It’s the humane thing to do.'”
Calling the incident “nothing more than a PETA publicity stunt,” representatives for SeaWorld issued a statement defending the park’s treatment of its animals.
“Our first priority is to ensure a safe and great experience for our guests, who come to SeaWorld to enjoy a day with their families. Fortunately, we promptly managed the disruption and our guests were pleased with our actions,” the statement reads, adding the parks have rescued more than 30,000 marine animals over the past five decades. “The truth is that all our animals, including our orcas are healthy and get extraordinary veterinary care from a dedicated and loving team of experts. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, SeaWorld is ‘meeting or exceeding the highest standard of animal care and welfare of any zoological organization in the world.'”
This latest arrest is Cromwell’s second run-in with authorities in as many years. He and five other environmental activists were previously arrested in 2015 for obstructing traffic during a sit-in on the site of Competitive Power Ventures’ prospective natural gas-fired power plant in Wawayanda, New York.
After refusing to pay a $375 fine related to his arrest, the actor was sentenced to seven days in jail at Orange Country Jail, which he recently served.