PASADENA ( — Comedian Cloris Leachman has joined PETA in protesting SeaWorld’s float entry for the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Leachman, the 2009 grand marshal, wrote a letter Thursday to Tournament President R. Scott Jenkins, asking him to prevent the float from entering the annual showcase.

The Sea of Surprise float’s design features killer whales, a snorkeler, dolphins, sea turtles and a coral reef.

“I was disappointed to learn from my friends at PETA that SeaWorld will have a float this year. Perhaps the Tournament of Roses Association has not seen ‘Blackfish’?” Leachman wrote.

“Blackfish,” a CNN documentary that aired in October, focused on the death of a SeaWorld trainer by a killer whale named Tilikum, as well as the treatment of the orcas at their parks nationwide.

“The highly acclaimed documentary gives us a look beyond SeaWorld’s glossy ads at the painful lives of orcas who were captured and bred for the park,” Leachman continued. “Many orcas at SeaWorld have been confined for decades to tanks that, to them, amount to nothing more than glorified bathtubs. They have been deprived of everything that is natural and important to them and are forced to swim in endless circles, far away from their families.”

The parade’s organizer sent CBS2 a statement, which said, “This year’s float is designed to illustrate the wonder of sea life in a manner that can inspire millions to learn more about our oceans, which is consistent with SeaWorld’s ongoing mission.”

On Friday, SeaWorld took out a fullpage ad in the Los Angeles Times, which stated, “We haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years.”

“That is a blatant lie on the part of SeaWorld,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen.

“Blackfish” prompted a wave of backlash from the public and celebrities alike.

Martina McBride, Willie Nelson and REO Speedwagon all canceled performances scheduled for 2014 at the franchise’s Orlando park.

Leachman’s letter was the latest move in PETA’s effort to protest the float. Earlier this month, activists dressed up as killer whales at two Pasadena intersections.

Protests were also planned for the parade on Jan. 1.

SeaWorld also featured a float in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


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