Tilikum, SeaWorld's largest orca at 12,000 pounds, has killed at least two people.     Photo: milan.boers/Flickr

Artists Opt Out of SeaWorld Shows

Amid "Blackfish" controversy, Heart, Willie Nelson, and the Barenaked Ladies cancel performances.

The Wilson sisters of the American rock band Heart, have a big place in their own hearts for killer whales. Last Friday, they joined country singer Willie Nelson and the Barenaked Ladies in opting not to perform at SeaWorld. 

The band declined its planned gig at the marine and zoological park next February in response to several online petitions urging musicians not to perform at SeaWorld following the release of CNN’s documentary Blackfish in October.

The film, which has millions protesting the captivity of SeaWorld's animals, details the events leading up to the killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau (and others) by SeaWorld's largest killer whale, Tilikum, a six-ton, 22-foot male orca.

Guitarist Nancy Wilson, who once hosted a nature documentary called Baby Wild about orcas (listen to the song, “The Killer Whale People” here) tweeted last Friday:

“The SeaWorld show was planned long ago as an Orlando show. Had we known, we'd have said no then. We said no today ... I am a big Orca fan...I'm happy to stand w/all (with all) of u to protect our animals."

"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," SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck told CNN on Sunday.

Gollattscheck also said folk singer, Nelson couldn't participate in this year's Bands, Brew & BBQ events due to "scheduling conflicts."

But Nelson put it more bluntly. "I don't agree with the way they treat their animals," he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. "It wasn't that hard a deal for me."




According to a Denver Post report, the 38-year-old was jailed on charges of assault and wrongs to minors at the home of Vita Shannon, his 38-year-old girlfriend and mother of their infant son. Shannon was also arrested on a charge of wrongs to minors.

Under Colorado law, domestic violence suspects cannot be granted bail before appearing before a judge; Ralston's hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. today in Denver County Court.

Ralston's memior on his near-death experience, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, was adapted into the 2010 film 127 Hours, which starred James Franco as Ralston.

ALSO: "Trapped" by Aron Ralston

Update: 2:30 p.m.

At the request of the Denver city attorney, charges of domestic violence against Aron Ralston were dismissed this afternoon.

"There apparently was some type of heated argument, police got involved, charges and counter charges were filed. This is just two people trying to work out a difficult relationships," his father Larry Ralston told The Denver Post.

Shannon was also charged with assault, one count of wrongs to minors, and an aditional charge of disturbing the peace that was added at her hearing this afternoon. She pleaded not guilt and is scheduled to reappear in court on Friday.