Hargrove & The Intern


Let’s start with John Hargrove’s interview with The Wrap Covering Hollywood from January 15, 2014:

Q: When did you first start to realize that SeaWorld was doing something unethical with these animals?

A: Four years into my career.

Oh, ok John. So once you learned that SeaWorld was doing something unethical with animals, you stood up, right? You got out of there, right?

Let’s see what John Hargrove did after learning that SeaWorld was doing something unethical with these animals.

His claim is that he realized that SeaWorld was doing something unethical in 1997.

He then continued to work at SeaWorld San Diego until 2001 – at least 4 more years. He then went on to work in France for 2 years training killer whales at a different marine park, but then actually reapplied with SeaWorld to work at its Texas facility at which he ultimately worked from 2008 until 2012. Read the Hargrove career time line.

Doesn’t seem like the actions of someone who knew SeaWorld was doing something unethical.

In fact, in 2011, while at SeaWorld Texas, there was no mention of anything unethical about SeaWorld when Hargrove spoke to a young intern from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Ms. Jenna Deedy details her time with Mr. Hargrove in a December 21st post Of Whales and Man: The Story of Whale Trainer John J.Hargrove for her Winter Dolphin Chronicles blog.

Ms. Deedy writes about Hargrove expressing the benefits of observing and studying whales that are in the care of SeaWorld and how such observations are difficult in the wild:

John says that watching Takara and her mother Kasatka have, raise, and teach their calves how to understand the killer whale way of life has been a truly inspiring and educational site to watch because watching mothers raise and teach their calves in human care is show (sic) many people are able to observe killer whale behavior in ways that would be almost impossible to gain out in the wild during a field study.”

“He also values the relationships he has developed over the years with the whales because not only is it all built on years with the whales because not only is it all built of years of love and trust, but it’s also beneficial for the animals too.”

“……….he does know that others who visit the park often see the practice of waterworks as being more than just an act for the killer whale shows, but a sign of an inspirational connection between man and animal and they, like John himself, can clearly see the mutual love and respect that he and his whales all have for each other.”

One has to wonder here.

Did John Hargrove really know SeaWorld was doing something unethical to animals and then go on to work there for many, many years while espousing the benefit and care of SeaWorld’s whales? Is it possible that John Hargrove found it convenient to concoct a story for a reporter to promote Blackfish?

Would he lie to his young intern who looked up to him and wanted to pursue a whale trainer career?