After their longest closure in history, SeaWorld’s parks around the nation are beginning to reopen, including their crucial Florida parks this coming Friday. Leading up to the reopening, many have been worried about the future of the company and their jobs. Employees who are still reeling from their recent furlough are now facing uncertainty at a company in recovery mode.
This unease felt by the employees was exacerbated last week when the popular Facebook page, Stand With SeaWorld, reported that they’ve been hearing that individual employees may not be offered positions to return to the reopening parks.
According to the post, SeaWorld's chairman of the board, Scott Ross, has been actively creating a list of employees who have spoken out against his management style with the intent of not rehiring them. The allegations paint a picture of a vindictive Ross. "Stand With SeaWorld" and the connected "I Love SeaWorld" website, are associated with Eric Davis. He helped launch a SeaWorld-backed fan site during the early days of SeaWorld’s battle with the influential documentary film Blackfish.
Like that site, Awesome Ocean, both Stand With SeaWorld and I Love SeaWorld are heavily focused on the animals that SeaWorld assists and homes. It was these animals that caused many of the more than 26,000 fans of Stand With SeaWorld to become fans of the parks.
Many of these fans have questioned how much of a role Scott Ross has in the company – as part of SeaWorld’s largest shareholder, Hill Path Capital – and what it will take to remove him. It’s no secret that as he looks to continue driving up profits, Ross has maintained control at SeaWorld. Many speculated that the comments by three former CEOs regarding the Board’s power should be more finely pointed at Ross.Since Ross has stepped into the board chairman role, the company has continued its march away from live animals and toward thrill-based attractions. This shift away from animals is part of the primary response to criticism many older fans have lodged against Ross and the post-Blackfish SeaWorld.
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