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Willie Nelson Slams SeaWorld After Canceling Show

Willie Nelson
Taylor Hill, Getty Images

Willie Nelson is speaking out against SeaWorld in the wake of canceling a projected gig there.

The legendary country musician said Friday (Dec. 6) that he felt he had no choice but to cancel a performance at the entertainment complex in Orlando, given public sentiment and his own convictions about the ethical treatment of animals.

“I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals,” Nelson tells CNN. “It wasn’t that hard a deal for me.”

Nelson made his comments just one day after SeaWorld Orlando spokesman Nick Gollattscheck announced he would not take part in the upcoming Bands, Brew & BBQ event, attributing the cancellation to scheduling conflicts.

The country entertainer made it clear Friday that scheduling played no part in his thinking, saying his decision was based in part on several petitions that had come to his attention, including one at Change.org that called on Nelson to cancel because of his track record of “activism for animals, the environment and other good causes.”

After Nelson announced his decision, that petition’s author, Danielle Legg, said she hoped his cancellation — along with that of Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies, who also pulled out of a planned SeaWorld performance — would “inspire other artists to stay away from performing at SeaWorld because at least they’ve got the choice — unlike the animals trapped there.”

SeaWorld has come under increasing public scrutiny and criticism since the release of the CNN documentary ‘Blackfish,’ which provides an eye-opening window into the way the aquatic entertainment park handles its animals.

“I understand that there are some natural-habitat zoos out there, which is probably OK,” Nelson observed. “But what they do at SeaWorld is not OK.”

Next: The Top 10 Willie Nelson Songs

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