What with the considerable hoopla surrounding Blackfish, the recent documentary about the SeaWorld whale that killed a trainer in 2010, perhaps this was not the best year for SeaWorld to decide to have its first-ever float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Animal activists including PETA are protesting the float's inclusion, BuzzFeed reports. The Float, called "Sea of Surprises," commemorates the park's 50th anniversary, and a PETA rep notes, "It shows orcas swimming in a majestic sea alongside their families, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. SeaWorld deprives them of all these things. They confine them to concrete tanks and take them away from their families. The picture that this float presents is absurdly false."
More than 78,000 people had emailed Macy's as of Friday asking that the float be eliminated from the parade, the New York Times reports. (You can do so here.) One high-profile opponent of the float: Alec Baldwin, who calls SeaWorld "a cruel prison for whales." But it doesn't look like Macy's is budging; a spokesperson says the parade is "solely devoted to entertainment," and is not interested in getting involved in any "social commentary, political debate, or other forms of advocacy." And then there are the ranchers upset about PETA spokesperson Joan Jett being featured on the South Dakota tourism float; they actually did manage to get her switched to a different float, the AP reports. In happier news, CBS notes four other new floats were unveiled yesterday, featuring Cirque du Soleil, the minions from Despicable Me, Royal Caribbean, and Lindt Chocolate ... which will have the Goo Goo Dolls aboard. (Read more Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stories.)