Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Texas Woman Sues SeaWorld for Leaking Her Phone Call

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 3:17 PM

click image SCREENGRAB VIA GAWKER
  • Screengrab via Gawker

SeaWorld Entertainment is on a long list being sued by an anonymous Texas woman for allegedly leaking a wiretapped phone call. Filed last week under the name "Jane Doe" in Texas, the woman accuses SeaWorld of purchasing a video recording of a "personal and sensitive" phone conversation between her and a friend, John Hargrove, the Sentinel reports.

If you can't remember the haze that was 2013, Hargrove was a former trainer for SeaWorld who appeared in Blackfish, the documentary that's still causing the company heartbreak.

The relationship between Hargrove and his former employer worsened when Hargrove published his book, "Beneath the Surface," earlier this year. In it he describes his time at SeaWorld and is heavily critical of the company. A week after the book's release, SeaWorld dropped a 5-year-old video recording to the media, which showed Hargrove drinking alcohol and using a racial slur several times while talking to a female friend during the recorded phone call.

At the time, a SeaWorld spokesman said they received the video from an internal whistleblower and the company "would have terminated Hargrove's employment immediately had we known he engaged in this kind of behavior." Hargrove called foul, saying the video was a smear campaign in retaliation for his book.

The woman heard speaking with Hargrove in the video says that two SeaWorld employees recorded the conversation without permission and then sold it to SeaWorld for a large amount of money. SeaWorld gave it to the Sentinel and other media outlets, who posted the video. 

The woman alleges “her identity has wrongly been made public because she is mentioned by name repeatedly in the recorded conversation” and seeks damages for wiretapping, disclosing private information to the public and inflicting intentional emotional damage. 

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