The CBS “Whistleblower” episode airing at 8 p.m. Friday is titled “SeaWorld: The Case Against Captivity” and depicts host Alex Ferrer’s report on the issue that first gained wide public notice with the “Blackfish” movie of 2013.
A CBS spokesman said Tuesday that he couldn’t name the former San Diego trainers before air time. He provided a link to the “sneak peek.”
(The trainers were revealed as Greg Stryker and Sharon Vietz.)
The spokesman said producers of the show reached out to SeaWorld, and got a written response. But he didn’t have it to share with Times of San Diego.
SeaWorld didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the upcoming show.
Now in its second season, “Whistleblower” shows Stryker saying: “If SeaWorld had a motto for its trainers, it would be: Show up, suit up, shut up.”
The 2 3/4-minute preview clip frames the issue as “David vs. Goliath” where Hargrove “put everything on the line” — even hiring a bodyguard at one point because “you’ve cost this company billions.”
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Besides, Hargrove — who worked in San Diego from 1995 to 2001 — the clip shows another man and two women discussing the orca program. Their names aren’t given.
“The final straw for Hargrove came when two experienced trainers, Alexis Martinez, who worked at a European-owned marine park that was associated with SeaWorld, and Dawn Brancheau, who worked at SeaWorld Orlando, were killed by captive orcas two months apart,” said a CBS press release. “Since leaving his job, Hargrove has been featured in the acclaimed documentary ‘Blackfish,’ wrote a book about his time at SeaWorld, and was asked to co-sponsor legislation to protect Orcas in California.”
SeaWorld has made a financial comeback in recent months, replacing its orca shows with rollercoaster rides as featured attractions and touting its marine-mammal rescue program.
“Whistleblower” is produced by CBS News Productions and CBS Television Studios, with Susan Zirinsky senior executive producer. Ferrer, Anthony Batson and Ted Eccles are executive producers, with Peter Bull and Ruth Chenetz senior producers.
Updated at 10:30 p.m. June 7, 2019.