Texas woman sues SeaWorld and Orlando Sentinel for leaking her phone call


  • Screengrab via Gawker

SeaWorld Entertainment and the Orlando Sentinel are included in a list of people being sued by an anonymous Texas woman for allegedly leaking a wiretapped phone conversation.

Filed last week under the name “Jane Doe” in Texas, the woman alleges SeaWorld purchased a video recording of a “personal and sensitive” phone conversation between her and a friend, John Hargrove, the Sentinel reports.

If you can’t remember the daze that was 2013, Hargrove was a former trainer for SeaWorld who appeared in the documentary that’s still causing the company heartache Blackfish.

The relationship between the Hargrove and his ex-employer only got worse after Hargrove published a book earlier this year called “Beneath the Surface” about his time at SeaWorld, which heavily criticized the company. A week after the book’s release, SeaWorld dropped a 5-year-old video recording to the media, which showed Hargrove drinking alcohol and using a racial slur several times while talking to a female friend during the recorded phone call.

At the time, a SeaWorld spokesman said they received the video from an internal whistleblower and the company “would have terminated Hargrove’s employment immediately had we known he engaged in this kind of behavior.” Hargrove called foul, saying the video was a smear campaign against him for releasing the book.

The woman who is presumed to be the friend Hargrove was recorded speaking with says two SeaWorld employees recorded the conversation without permission and then sold it to SeaWorld for a large amount of money.

SeaWorld gave it to the Sentinel and other media outlets, who posted the video.

The woman alleges “her identity has wrongly been made public because she is mentioned by name repeatedly in the recorded conversation” and seeks damages for wiretapping, disclosing private information to the public and inflicting intentional emotional damage.

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