Jessica Simpson is used to clapping back at strangers when she is heavily criticized online, but this time she attracted a whole different group of people to her social media pages: environmental activists.
On Monday, the pregnant singer shared several photos of a family trip she took to a SeaWorld park on February 17, including pictures of her two children — 6-year-old daughter Maxwell and 5-year-old son Ace — touching and interacting with dolphins at the controversial animal theme park. There was also a photo of her family gasping as a dolphin jumped from the water.
And while both Simpson and her family members looked positively happy about being there, many of her 4.5 million Instagram followers weren’t so forgiving. SeaWorld has faced harsh criticism and dealt with many boycotts and protests over the years due to the type of treatment the marine animals in their care receive. The American chain was also the main focus of the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which centered around the death of a trainer by a killer whale in Orlando, Florida. Since then, the franchise has promised to fully terminate its shows involving orcas and step up their conservation efforts, but they are often the target of criticism from people who disagree with the captivity of marine animals.
“As if people still actually support SeaWorld! Shocked to see this being promoted by such a public figure! If you love and care about animals, you wouldn’t support their exploitation and suffering,” one user wrote.
“Oh, Jessica … Honey, no. Please don’t support SeaWorld. Please do your research. I love you, and hope you’re well … but please,” a fan chimed in.
“Please watch Blackfish and I promise you will never return to SeaWorld,” another comment read.
“Take the time to see those beautiful animals in the wild. You will never accept seeing them in a tank again!” one follower urged, while another asked if she had ever seen Blackfish and claimed that the dolphin show was “animal abuse.”
However, some Instagram users did come forward to defend SeaWorld, with one commenter even claiming to work for the theme park chain and insisting that the “animals aren’t mistreated” at their premises. Another fan thanked her for supporting SeaWorld, adding that they are “an amazing organization dedicated to animals in their care and in the ocean!”
The pop star, who is due to give birth to her third child very soon, has yet to respond to her fans’ comments.