Manny Oteyza, best-known as the producer of the documentary Blackfish that was watched by more than 21 million people on CNN, will be honored by Fort Lauderdale philanthropist and restaurateur Nanci Alexander at her Fort Lauderdale gourmet vegan hot spot Sublime Restaurant & Bar this weekend.
Fred Schneider, from the band the B-52's, will present Oteyza with an award.
Blackfish spotlighted the harsh treatment and inhumane capture tactics of orcas destined for a lifetime in captivity in amusement parks such as SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium.
The Blackfish documentary, first released last October, led to numerous protests and SeaWorld boycotts. Stars such as Willie Nelson and Martina McBride canceled concerts, schools canceled field trips, and SeaWorld's own former majority shareholder dropped more than 34 million shares of the company's stock amid the negativity publicity.
Blackfish showed how SeaWorld's circle of life included the capture of young orcas from their families in the ocean, inhumane imprisonment in tiny tanks, and how the treatment and torture of an orca named Tilikum led to the deaths of three people, including his trainer in Orlando. The documentary points out that an orca has never killed a human in the wild and that only the treatment of Tilikum, who is shown with teeth worn to the nubs from chewing on the underwater bars of his cement prison, could lead to such aggression.
PETA spokesperson Moira Colley commented that Blackfish has changed the public's perception of captive whales and marine parks:
"Thanks to movies such as Blackfish and PETA's lawsuit against SeaWorld for violating orcas' 13th Amendment right to freedom, people have learned of the rodeo-style capture of whales from their pods in the ocean... Finally, the abusement parks will close, and the whales and dolphins will be removed from their cement bathtubs and returned to the oceans, where they belong."
Sublime owner Alexander is the ex-wife of billionaire and Houston Rockets' owner Leslie Alexander and is known for her deep commitment to animal rights issues.
Oteyza will be honored this Sunday, April 6, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m, at Sublime, located at 1431 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.