Strange things are afoot at SeaWorld these days. We’ve known that the amusement park giant has been struggling for a while, what with the practice of sedating orcas with anti-depressants and proposed legislation that would make it tough for SeaWorld to get new aquatic stars. Now, PETA has accused SeaWorld of deliberately sending one of its employees to infiltrate anti-SeaWorld protests, and they have some interesting proof to back it up. If it’s true, the company has a lot of explaining to do, especially because the employee in question appears to have been doing this for years.
The details are still unfolding, but here’s what we know: A man called Thomas Jones has been active in animal rights protests with PETA for several years. Jones has been involved in numerous protests against SeaWorld, donning a PETA-logoed shirt, holding signs, and using his Twitter account to propose attacks on the aquatic theme park’s facilities. He was even taken into police custody, along with a van-load of other protestors, during the Rose Bowl in January 2014.
Meanwhile, a man named Paul McComb has been employed by SeaWorld since April 2010 and works in human resources. Based a side-by-side comparison of known photographs of Jones and McComb, PETA alleges that they are actually the same person. SeaWorld, unsurprisingly, has denied that Jones and McComb are the same person, or that the company sent anyone to infiltrate the animal rights group.
Related: All signs point to SeaWorld’s imminent demise and we aren’t sad
The plot thickens when you learn more, as it often the case. Although Jones was carted off to the police station in 2014 with his activist cohorts, he was nowhere to be found when the others were released, and there is no record of an arrest under either name. This is when some of his fellow activists, including PETA’s senior vice president Lisa Lange, became suspicious. Lange told the Guardian that she and other PETA activists took a closer look at Jones’ social media activity and found many posts in which he attempted to incite “illegal violent things,” which Lange claims is against PETA’s principles.
What’s more, the address Jones used to join one of PETA’s groups was a post office box registered to the director of security at SeaWorld San Diego. That in itself seems to put a linchpin in the argument that there is a relationship between this mysterious man with two identities and the fading aquatic park struggling to fight back against worsening public opinion.
Via The Guardian
Images via PETA and Facebook