Hacktivist group Anonymous is claiming to have shut down 1,558 websites (Editor's note: actually, we're seeing that number range from 1,557 to 1,559 in various tweets) in retaliation for the dolphin slaughter in Japan's Taiji Cove.
One of the sites attacked and shut down by the group appears to be SeaWorld's "About Blackfish" page.
SeaWorld has been fighting an all-out PR campaign designed to combat the recent allegations brought on it by the documentary Blackfish, which has created a worldwide backlash against the park. Most notably, a handful of headlining performers, from the Barenaked Ladies to Willie Nelson to Trisha Yearwood, has canceled shows at the park's annual Bands, Brew & Barbecue music fest.
See also: Dolphin Slaughters in Japan Bring More Negative Attention on SeaWorld
One of SeaWorld's largest boasts during this whole thing has been that it is active in rescuing animals and putting them into a nurturing environment within the parks.
The park has claimed to spend $70 million for its killer-whale habitats and millions of dollars annually in support of those facilities.
But with the recent annual slaughter happening in Japan this week, critics have been quick to point out how the park has done nothing to stop it.
In response to the carnage at Taiji Cove, Anonymous launched #OpKillingBay. It's first victim was the Wakayama Prefecture website, where Taiji is located.
BREAKING NEWS: Anonymous Operation KillingBay #TangoDown ---> http://t.co/6b8CDb7EdP #OpKillingBay #Anonymous Taiji Prefecture is offline— Anonymous Priest (@YourAnonPriest) January 21, 2014
But SeaWorld also appears to be a part of Anonymous' attack. If you visit the park's page where it attempts to refute the allegations against it by Blackfish, you get this error message:
Activists like Leilani Munter claim on Twitter that Anonymous is responsible for the park's website crashing and has been active on social media websites, aggressively calling SeaWorld to do what it says it does and help stop the killing of dolphins at Taiji.
The slaughter ended on Tuesday, and CNN reports that more than 500 dolphins were captured during the event.
this is me sending a big *kiss* to #Anonymous they shut down SeaWorld, WAZA and 1557 more sites related to Taiji #OpKillingBay— Leilani Munter (@LeilaniMunter) January 22, 2014
Last month, SeaWorld took out a full-page ad in major U.S. papers, including the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, in an effort designed to combat the allegations brought on it by the documentary. The ad it placed was also posted on its website.
Two weeks ago, the park announced it had set record profits in 2013.
A couple of days after SeaWorld took out its full-page ad, a string of activists showed up to the park in Orlando to protest outside its gates.
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