Bindi Irwin is in hot water with the American people. The Aussie teen, the daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, is the new ambassador for U.S. SeaWorld, and animal rights advocates are not happy.
The water park has been getting bad press since the docu-film “Blackfish” was released in 2013. The film, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, focuses on the captivity of a killer whale named Tilikum, which is involved in the deaths of three individuals. It also exposed the theme park as an Orca torture chamber.
With a bad rep like that in the U.S., it’s no wonder SeaWorld is being boycotted by American artists like Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, and Pat Benatar.
So perhaps that’s why it has reached out to Bindi, whose wildlife work was influenced and encouraged by her dad himself.
The 15-year-old unwittingly entered a war in the U.S., one that involves SeaWorld and the people who have seen “Blackfish.”
On Thursday, Bindi, her 10-year-old brother Robert, and mum Terri Irwin stopped by the breakfast show “Good Morning America” to promote her new collaboration with the controversial water park.
Bindi is now working with a SeaWorld initiative called Generation Nature, “which is all about encouraging kids to get involved and be game-changers for wildlife in wild places.”
“I’m so excited to be carrying on in dad’s footsteps and making sure that everything he worked so hard for continues for the generations to come,” the teen told presenter Robin Roberts.
But instead of gaining support, Bindi was inundated with criticisms online.
“@BindiIrwin have you watched #Blackfish yet? #Seaworld is an evil entity. Be a real advocate of animals & watch the film immediately,” Twitter user Rob Bieber wrote.
“Bindi Irwin please step down as SeaWorld ambassador! @SeaWorld’s evil deeds outweigh the good!” a post from Amy Pruett reads.
Other tweets are more critical of Bindi, with some questioning how much was she paid for her endorsement.
A petition has been launched online, asking Bindi to step down as SeaWorld Youth Ambassador.
“Ms Irwin, please educate yourself about what happens in order for SeaWorld to purchase wonderful creatures like orcas and dolphins. I do believe your father would not want you to participate in such cruelty and I am sure that you do not want to be part of this either,” the petition reads.
“Please reconsider your offer to be SeaWorld’s new Ambassador. Do it for the animals.
The petition has a little over 12,000 signatures as of the time of writing. It needs 13,000 signatures by May 1.
Bindi and the Irwin family haven’t responded yet to the controversy.