The theme park best known for training whales to jump on command has posted a fourth-quarter loss of $20.4 million and says CEO Joel Manby is stepping down, according to CNBC.
It’s hard to feel particularly sorry for the company. SeaWorld has long been the subject of a boycott for mistreating the orcas in its shows, as exposed in the documentary Blackfish. The park violated the Animal Welfare Act, runs a problematic breeding program, separates calves from mothers, steals penguin chicks from Antarctica, drugs animals even when they’re not performing, has been the site of several deaths of both trainers and whales, and a lot more. Heck, even People magazine considers SeaWorld to be scandal-plagued.
The company has attempted to address some of the concerns, and Manby earned some lukewarm praise from critics by pledging to end the theatrical orca shows. But attendance at its parks fell 5.5% to 20.8 million in its 2017 fiscal year, the company said Tuesday. Per CNBC, the Orlando, Florida-based company had annual losses of $202.4 million, or $2.36 per share. While shares of SeaWorld rose about 2% before Tuesday’s opening bell, it may not be enough to keep them afloat. Maybe its new line of collectible pins will save them?