The Second Urban Legendary Show!

An interview with Joseph Kleiman, about the documentary “Blackfish“, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and associated issues.

Additional news: “Ruling was made on the 11th April 2014, in SeaWorld’s appeals case against OSHA. Ruling was not favorable to SeaWorld. The only option remaining is US Supreme Court. The OSHA decision affects only Orlando, not the Texas or California parks. Water work during performances at those two parks may resume as early as this summer.”  – Thanks to Joseph Kleiman, my interviewee, for this information.

Sometimes I watch documentaries – but I usually keep a skeptical attitude about them. After years of teaching Media studies and senior English classes about non-fiction films, I’m always a little taken aback when I find myself particularly moved or engaged with the silver screen. After all – it’s just a movie, right?

What leads me to become emotionally involved? Is it really the factual content that engages me to side with the director and the participants – or is it the delivery? Could there be something missing from what I’m being shown, and if so – where can I learn more about the issues involved?

The documentary “Blackfish” greatly moved me – it’s directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and focuses on Tilikum, an orca held by SeaWorld and looks at the controversy over captive killer whales.

In response to the film, senator Greg Ball proposed legislation in New York that ban keeping orcas in captivity. In March 2014, assemblyman Richard Bloom introduced the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, a bill in California that would ban entertainment-driven killer whale captivity and retire all current whales.

But I soon discovered there’s more to the story than just what the documentary tells me and what the resulting legislation might end up doing – which is something I discovered didn’t really suit all people.

I took the opportunity to Tweet links to content that I didn’t necessarily agree with on my account recently, on what originally seemed to be just ‘two sides’ of responses to the film:  people who sided with SeaWorld and the performing animals and trainer – and those people who wanted captivity shut down altogether.

While some people reacted in a very negative way to my retweets – even though many, including my Twitter account says that “retweets don’t necessarily mean endorsement” –  but if I hadn’t Tweeted alternative views on the film, I never would have met Joe Kleinman for this interview. So, I don’t regret doing that a bit, even though some usually skeptically-minded people took it very personally, which is unfortunate.

Joe can introduce his qualifications and his background himself – but if you’d like to know more afterwards, do visit his site at

After this interview was completed, he continued to find out more about the ramifications of the film, such as the ruling made on the 11th April 2014, in SeaWorld’s appeals case against OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. So, do check out his site for ongoing news.

Show Notes:

Transcript available at The Token Skeptic blog at Patheos.

The website of Mr Kleiman: Themed Reality at Visit this site for more information and up-to-date discussions about the issues and more.

Gawker article mentioned during the show:

Thanks to all of the Patreon supporters!! The ones who get a special mention due to donation level are: Stephen Finch, Linley Kissick, Gold, Brian Engler, Iggy, Lukas Mathis and Andrew Kirkhope. But thanks to all the others who help out as well – this wouldn’t be possible without your encouragement.

Check out the Patreon page at to find out more. Follow me on Twitter at and check out previous shows at


Music “Pushed Away” by Mitchell Gannon:

Ice Core Scientist:

Additional Voiceover by Pamela Quevillon:

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