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SeaWorld Suspends Its Alleged PETA Spy
SeaWorld says they've suspended the alleged spy who infiltrated PETA, while the animal rights organization contends Pasadena police colluded with the theme park to squash a protest.On Wednesday, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment issued a statement in response to PETA's allegations. "The allegations made yesterday against a SeaWorld employee are very concerning," said CEO Joel Manby. "These allegations, if true, are not consistent with the values of the SeaWorld organization and will not be tolerated."
The statement went on to say that an employee was put "on paid administrative leave” and that an investigation into his behavior had been launched.
"SeaWorld is scrambling to distance itself from something that it cannot talk its way out of," said PETA in response. "'Suspending' your own agents is an old trick, which usually comes with a backroom deal of compensation and a promise to bring them back when things die down, which is unlikely to be the case with this beleaguered business."
Earlier this week, PETA accused SeaWorld employee Paul McCombs of joining PETA under the alias Thomas Jones and participating in their protests against SeaWorld. On Thursday, the animal activists filed a lawsuit against the Pasadena Police Department, demanding the release of documents that they claim would show that the man they thought was Jones tipped the police off to their protest at the 2014 Rose Parade.
Video of the PETA protest at the parade and the arrests, with "Thomas Jones" highlighted
PETA activists sat in front of the SeaWorld float in the parade, resulting in at least seventeen of them getting arrested. However, the only one who was not later charged was Jones, who was later released. Police say nobody named Jones was ever arrested, that there were no records related to him, and also said they would not hand over any records related to the protest, leading PETA to file suit.
"SeaWorld continually covers up the suffering of orcas in its concrete tanks, and now we wonder if the Pasadena Police Department is covering up the extent to which it has been used by SeaWorld’s spy," said PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.
The use of undercover agents is not an unusual tactic in the world of animal rights. Last month, footage showing the cruelties inside a Foster Farms factory was shot by an individual working with Mercy For Animals.