Heart, Willie Nelson, and Barenaked Ladies Back Out of SeaWorld Concerts Because of ‘Blackfish’

Elizabeth Durand Streisand

It looks like the dark shadow cast over SeaWorld by "Blackfish" isn't passing just yet. Heart is the latest in a string of bands slated to perform at the aquatic amusement park to withdraw because of the CNN documentary that first aired in October.

And while sister musicians Nancy and Ann Wilson didn't elaborate beyond the brief tweet, it's safe to assume that they don't want to get entangled in the backlash from the film, which used the tragic killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau by a 12,000-pound orca to raise questions about the humaneness of keeping these massive creatures in captivity.

But Heart is hardly the first musical act to sever ties with SeaWorld because of "Blackfish."

After seeing the documentary, Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart tweeted back to a fan who urged the band to take action.

The Canadian group withdrew from a scheduled gig just two days later, announcing the change of sentiment via Facebook.

"This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time," Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, and Tyler Stewart explained. "The Seaworld folks have been gracious, and extended us invitations to the park to learn more about what they do, and how they do it."

And on Dec. 6, the legendary Willie Nelson followed suit.

Though the official word was that the country crooner had to drop out because of "scheduling conflicts," the timing seemed somewhat suspicious, prompting speculation that the real impetus for Nelson's decision was growing public pressure and, perhaps more specifically, a petition on Change.org.

Naturally, a spokesman for SeaWorld insists that the documentary is not an honest representation of the park's practices, but is careful not to point the finger at any of these bands.

"While we're disappointed a small group of misinformed individuals was able to deny fans what would have been great concerts at SeaWorld by Heart, Barenaked Ladies, and Willie Nelson, we respect the bands' decisions," Nick Gollattscheck explained after Heart went public with its decision.

We'll have to wait and see whether the public outrage sticks (and the park's entertainment partnerships continue to suffer), but one thing is certain: It's not going to be smooth sailing for SeaWorld anytime soon.