UPDATE (Feb. 24): This article has been updated to include a response from SeaWorld to the planned protest.
PETA is planning to take a stand at Ludacris‘ upcoming concert at SeaWorld, the organization announced Thursday (Feb. 23) citing the aquatic theme park’s mistreatment of dolphins and whales.
“Ludacris is using the marine park as a money maker, despite being informed that dolphins and whales at SeaWorld are confined to cramped tanks with nothing to do but swim in circles and lash out at each other in frustration,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said in a statement. “PETA will be there fast and furious to let the public know that supporting marine prisons is ludicrous.”
Opposition to the rapper’s performance — which is scheduled to take place Sunday, Feb. 26, as part of SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival — will include PETA supporters and members of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, as well as a costumed crying dolphin that will carry a sign that reads “What’s My Fantasy? A Life Outside of SeaWorld!” — a reference to the Fast & Furious star’s 1999 hit “What Your Fantasy?”
In a response to PETA’s protest sent to Billboard on Friday (Feb. 24), SeaWorld said: “PETA’s false claims about our treatment of animals and their habitats are offensive to hundreds of SeaWorld employees – including veterinarians and marine animal specialists – who provide world class care to those animals every single day. Our habitats comply with and exceed standards set by government agencies and independent wildlife experts. This is validated through our accreditation by independent organizations that set the gold standard for marine mammal care — the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), and others. In addition, the expertise we have from nearly 60 years of exceptional animal care informs our success as one of the largest marine animal rescue organizations in the world. And, proceeds from SeaWorld parks help make possible our vital work in the rescue and conservation of marine wildlife. Our team and the tens of millions of people who visit our parks every year won’t be bullied or intimidated by the false narratives and publicity stunts of the organization behind this protest.”
SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival kicked off Feb. 4 with a performance from En Vogue, though the girl group’s concert was not protested by PETA. PETA previously protested SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival in 2018, when Hanson took the stage to perform despite opposition from the organization to cancel in the form of an online petition, a fundraiser and even a cake.
Following Ludacris’ performance at the festival, *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone will take the stage with a few special friends on March 4. Admission to the festival’s concerts is free to all park attendees.