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Arts and Entertainment

Video: 'Babe' Star James Cromwell Interrupts Orca Show While Wearing 'SeaWorld Sucks' Shirt

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Actor James Cromwell, who you may remember from the 1995 surprise hit Babe, dropped in Monday on an orca show at San Diego's SeaWorld. He wasn't there as a fan, however.

As reported at the L.A. Times, Cromwell and six other members from PETA interrupted the show, with Cromwell wearing a "SeaWorld Sucks" shirt and the other members holding up signs that read "SeaWorld Kills". The incident was captured and shared on Facebook by PETA:

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Cromwell addressed the crowd with a megaphone. In the footage, the actor's voice is largely drowned out by background music and the voice of an announcer coming through the speakers. Some in the audience seemingly ignore him, applauding at something happening off screen, and one audience member gets up and attempts to slap the megaphone from Cromwell's hand. "The orca dives very deep," Cromwell could be heard saying in the video. He then points to the water behind him, and says that the pool forces the orcas to "swim in endless circles."

By the end of the 13 minute video, Cromwell and the other protestors have been led away by officials; the members were handcuffed before they were taken away. Bill Hernandez, an officer with the San Diego Police Department, told LAist that Cromwell and the protestors were not arrested. "He was cited for a trespassing misdemeanor and released," said Hernandez, adding that the cited parties will have to appear before court in relation to the citation.

SeaWorld has faced a great deal of backlash for its orca shows in recent years. It largely stemmed from the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which gave the public a look into the practice of keeping orcas in captivity. Growing pressure led SeaWorld to announce that it would phase out its orca shows and stop breeding the animals. In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that banned individuals and corporations in California from breeding orcas in captivity.

"It’s not surprising that these captive animals do not live as long as their wild cousins. While wild male orcas live an average of 30 years and up to 60 years and females an average of 50 years and up to more than 100," PETA said in a statement on their opposition to SeaWorld.

David Koontz, a SeaWorld spokesperson, told the Times that the Monday incident was “nothing more than a PETA publicity stunt.” He added that "all our animals, including our orcas, get extraordinary veterinary care from a dedicated and loving team of experts.”

Cromwell is no stranger to activism. Aside from animal rights, he's also focused on environmental issues. In 2015 he was arrested at an anti-fracking protest held outside a New York power plant. He would later serve a seven-day prison sentence for the incident; he was released just last week.

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