Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


PETA Activist Was A Spy For SeaWorld, PETA Claims

Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

PETA claims that they've identified a mole in their midst. They say a man who joined the group to protest SeaWorld at New York's Thanksgiving parade in 2013 and the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena is actually an employee of SeaWorld.

Thomas Jones seemed pretty gung ho about sticking it to SeaWorld when he joined protesters with PETA. In the comments of one protest, he wrote, "Grab your pitch forks and torches. Time to take down SeaWorld." But PETA activists, who have been targeting SeaWorld over its treatment of orcas, started getting suspicious when a group of activists, including Jones, were arrested at the Rose Parade. He was nowhere to be found when they regrouped after being released. PETA did some sleuthing that included tracking down his license plate. They believe that Jones' real name is Paul McCombs, a man whose resume says he has held several positions at SeaWorld, including as a human resources representative.

Two of the addresses Jones gave them are suspicious. One of them is a PO Box registered to Richard Marcelino, SeaWorld’s head of security in San Diego. The other lists a street address in Jamul that doesn't exist. But that street address does exist in the nearby El Cajon, and the home there belongs to a Paul McCombs.

Bloomberg did their own investigating and tracked down information about those addresses through Nexis. They also found that Thomas Jones looks exactly like a man in the Facebook photos of Paul McComb's wife. (The website SeaWorldOfHurt has side-by-side photos, so you can judge for yourself.)

Support for LAist comes from

No one connected to Thomas Jones or Paul McCombs is saying much. McComb's wife Brittany McComb only confirmed she's Paul's wife. Bloomberg reports that when they reached McComb, he wouldn't confirm whether he worked for SeaWorld and he hung up when a reporter asked if he ever used the name Thomas Jones. SeaWorld wouldn't say whether Jones or McComb works for them, but they did issue this statement in which they point out that PETA hires its own undercover spies:

“Peta itself actively recruits animal rights activists to gain employment at companies like SeaWorld, as this job posting demonstrates,” company spokesman Jacobs said. “Safety is our top priority, and we will not waiver from that commitment.”

Activists have been successful in targeting SeaWorld for its main attraction: orcas. They argue that keeping the sea mammals in captivity is inhumane and abusive. High-profile orca attacks on trainers at SeaWorld locations, along with the release of the documentary "Blackfish" has helped to turn the tide against SeaWorld. The company says that they treat Shamu well and they have tried to highlight the good it has done for creatures, like rescuing sea lions. But recent years haven't been kind to the company: it has since lost high-profile sponsorships, like Southwest Airlines, Willie Nelson canceled a concert at SeaWorld and called them out and the company has seen a decline in attendance and stock prices.

Most Read