James Cromwell, who is best known for portraying Farmer Arthur in Babe, may not be the first person you'd think of when it comes to celebrities that have been sentenced to jail time - but the Boardwalk Empire actor has recently had a brush with the law while defending animal rights. The celebrated thespian, who also appeared in American Horror Story and Boardwalk Empire, was recently arrested following a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protest at the highly controversial theme park, SeaWorld.
"SeaWorld Sucks": James Cromwell Sides With PETA
During SeaWorld San Diego’s “Orca Encounter," where audiences see performances using whales as the main attraction, Cromwell led a group of PETA protesters in a public demonstration that was streamed live on Facebook.
Bearing placards and shirts that had the words "SeaWorld Sucks" printed on them, the protesters - who were led by the actor - aimed to inform the audiences of SeaWorld's history of alleged animal abuse.
Cromwell and his fellow PETA protesters were arrested minutes into their demonstration, and the "Orca Encounter" continued after a brief pause. SeaWorld quickly dismissed the incident as a publicity stunt, but Cromwell has since stated that their appearance was to raise awareness of SeaWorld's animal abuse. After being arrested, Cromwell appealed to people to support his cause.
"This has to stop. SeaWorld must invest in seaside sanctuaries, now. Let them at least live a natural life. They are family-oriented animals who have been separated from their families. To everyone I say, ‘End this nightmare. Vote with your wallet. Refuse to be a voyeur at a horror-show. It’s the humane thing to do."
This is not Cromwell's first protest that ended in arrest. Back in 2015, the actor was arrested after a sit-in demonstration at the Competitive Power Ventures power plant in New York. Cromwell and his fellow demonstrators were calling out the power plant for emitting deadly toxins.
For his participation in the SeaWorld incident, Cromwell will serve a sentence of seven days at the Orange Country Jail, which is the same sentence he served after being arrested in 2015.
Celebrities Vs. SeaWorld: Cromwell Isn't Alone
Cromwell's recent arrest is only the latest incident of a celebrity's protest against SeaWorld. The animal attraction has been dealing with its fair share of controversy for quite some time, but things arguably got worse after the release of the documentary Blackfish. The documentary exposed the harsh conditions and exploitation that the captive orcas in SeaWorld were subjected to, leading to public outcry against the marine park that cost the park 84% of its revenue at the time.
Well-known personalities such as actor Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, rock singer Joan Jett and many others turned to social media to condemn SeaWorld.
Steve-O, one of the daredevil stars of MTV's Jackass, even took his protest against SeaWorld to the next level by climbing a 100ft crane in order to display "SeaWorld Sucks" on a San Diego highway.
SeaWorld has since denied the allegations presented by Blackfish, claiming that the accusations were either exaggerated or fabricated. The theme park has reportedly been cleaning up its act and has been trying to win audiences back ever since. SeaWorld has phased out its killer whale shows and contradicted itself with numerous embarrassing PR failures.
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