SeaWorld also said it was launching a probe into the allegations. It can not escape the fact that the post office box used by McComb was in the name of SeaWorld’s head of security or that McComb appears to have been working with SeaWorld security when he informed the police of PETA’s protest at the Rose Parade and was later arrested and released.
“Suspending your own agents is an old trick, which usually comes with a backroom deal of compensation and a promise to bring them back when things die down, which is unlikely to be the case with this beleaguered business”, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a statement.
“SeaWorld continually covers up the suffering of orcas in its concrete tanks, and now we wonder if the Pasadena Police Department is covering up the extent to which it has been used by this particular Sea World spy”, said PETA’s general counsel, Jeffrey Kerr.
People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims that SeaWorld deployed a man identifying himself as Thomas Jones to masquerade as an activist in the San Diego area, taking part in protests and organizational meetings.
PETA also expanded its allegations against the company, saying it believes SeaWorld’s efforts went further than the behavior of one employee. It has hired protesters to attend SeaWorld rallies, and PETA is now looking at two more men who we believe were SeaWorld agents hired to infiltrate PETA as “volunteers”, and the list may grow.
“We will take all appropriate actions based on the results of the investigation to ensure that the integrity and values of the SeaWorld organization are upheld”, he said.
William Boyer, Pasadena’s public information officer, said he was not aware of PETA requesting information from the city.
“The state of California guarantees the right of access to government records, and that includes the documents that will tell PETA how much time and taxpayer money the city of Pasadena and the Pasadena Police Department have spent catering to SeaWorld’s interests”.
McComb, reached by telephone Monday, declined to say whether he was a SeaWorld employee and hung up when asked whether he was the activist known as Jones.
In its lawsuit, PETA notes that all of the protesters were handcuffed, taken to the police station and instructed to remove their belts and shoelaces.