- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SeaWorld has reportedly released a video of author John Hargrove drinking and repeating a racial slur one week after the former SeaWorld trainer published a book criticizing the company.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said they received the video of Mr. Hargrove over the weekend “from an internal whistleblower,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The nearly 5-year-old cellphone video shows Mr. Hargrove with a glass of wine, repeating the N-word while laughing and talking with a woman about an incident in which a group of black men apparently threw a rock at her, the Sentinel reported.

“We are offended by John’s behavior and language,” Mr. Jacobs told the paper. “The video is particularly reprehensible since John Hargrove is wearing a SeaWorld shirt. SeaWorld would have terminated Hargrove’s employment immediately had we known he engaged in this kind of behavior.”

The company also said Tuesday that Mr. Hargrove quit “after being disciplined for a severe safety violation involving the park’s killer whales,” the Sentinel reported.

Mr. Hargrove, who spent 14 years as an orca trainer, has been on a widely publicized book tour since publishing “Beneath the Surface” last Tuesday. He’s made appearances on NPR, CNN and “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, among others, to talk about what he believes are inhumane practices at SeaWorld.

The author disputed the company’s claims that he violated safety rules and accused SeaWorld of trying to discredit his character, the Sentinel reported.

“They’re going to pull out everything they can, drag up any dirt they can on me to make me look like this awful person,” he told the paper. “What’s so amazing, they’re not addressing the issues at hand. This is about killer whales in captivity.”

“These are all just personal attacks to try to slander me and my character,” he said. “This is so typical of SeaWorld. If they’re going to pull up videos and say he was drunk one night and used a derogatory word … these are petty, childish attempts to discredit somebody.”

Mr. Hargrove said he did not remember the incident and had not seen the video, the Sentinel reported.

“We do a lot of things we shouldn’t do when we drink,” he told the paper.

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