SeaWorld Caught Spying: Employee Tries to Befriend Activists, Incite Illegal Acts

For Immediate Release:
July 14, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego

Since 2012, Thomas Jones has been trying to cozy up to PETA employees and unsuspecting members of the public who object to SeaWorld’s practices, attending animal rights meetings and peaceful protests at SeaWorld and going so far as to post inflammatory messages on social media, such as “burn [SeaWorld] to the ground” and “drain the new tanks at #SeaWorld,” in an attempt to incite illegal actions. But, as reported by Bloomberg today, PETA has exposed “Thomas Jones” as Paul T. McComb, a human resources employee at SeaWorld San Diego.

“SeaWorld knows that the public is rejecting its cruel orca prisons and is so desperate that it created a corporate espionage campaign,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Instead of creating a dirty tricks department, SeaWorld should put its resources into releasing the orcas into coastal sanctuaries.”

“Jones” signed up for PETA’s Action Team on its website, and his information listed two different addresses. The first address, in Jamul, California, doesn’t exist. The second, a post office box in San Diego, was registered to Ric Marcelino, director of security at SeaWorld San Diego. “Jones” solicited information about peaceful protests against SeaWorld from PETA staffers and even participated in and was arrested during a protest of SeaWorld’s float in the 2014 Rose Parade. But after being handcuffed and taken to the police station, he mysteriously disappeared, his name, real or otherwise, never appearing on arrest sheets. PETA has filed public records requests with the Pasadena Police Department to obtain documents related to his arrest.

McComb has repeatedly tried to incite animal advocates to act illegally, stating that it’s time for SeaWorld protesters to “get a little aggressive,” to engage in “direct action,” to “grab your pitch forks [sic] and torches,” and to blow horns outside the homes of SeaWorld vice presidents at night. He also organized a “direct action” protest—advertising it as “more exciting than just holding signs”—only to fail to appear at the demonstration.

McComb has attended animal rights conferences and has been inquiring as to whether protests are PETA-sponsored.

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