At a concert in July, One Direction's Harry Styles hit fans with some real talk.
"Don't. Go. To. SeaWorld."
You heard him ladies and gents. Don't go to sea world! 🚨🚨🚨 Please follow @Dolphin_Project + for more info please check out www.dolphinproject.com
A video posted by @maisie_williams on
Although it's not every day you see a world-famous teen heartthrob taking on a massive theme park corporation, Styles' comments didn't just come out of nowhere.
In 2013, the controversial documentary "Blackfish" made some shocking claims about SeaWorld.
Namely, that SeaWorld lies to its guests about the health of its sea mammals, that orcas at SeaWorld have shorter lifespans than wild orcas, and that captivity can create conditions for mental illness — and incite violent behavior — in killer whales.
It was a huge disaster for SeaWorld, whose profits dipped 84% between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015.
After the movie came out, SeaWorld spent a lot of money on an ad campaign to convince people that things are actually all hunky-dory with their killer whales.
A spot posted to YouTube in April claims that SeaWorld hasn't trapped orcas in the wild for over three decades, and that, contra "Blackfish," their captive orcas live "just as long" as their free brethren.
But Styles wasn't buying it, and for the most part, he's right not to.
Even for a company in free fall, July 2015 was an especially bad month for SeaWorld, and Styles' comments were a big reason why.
According to The Guardian, Styles' boycott call, along with accusations that a SeaWorld employee tried to infiltrate the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), "led to a 400% increase in online comments about SeaWorld in July, more than 2.5m, the vast majority of which were negative."
That's, um. Pretty bad.
SeaWorld is learning a hard lesson.
When you've lost One Direction, you've lost the hearts and minds of a generation.