SeaWorld, ex-CEO settle with U.S. SEC over 'Blackfish'

 SeaWorld, ex-CEO settle with U.S. SEC over Blackfish

NEW YORK (Reuters) - SeaWorld Entertainment Inc and its former Chief Executive James Atchison have agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges for misleading investors about the negative effect that the 2013 documentary "Blackfish" would have on the company's reputation and business.

The SEC on Tuesday said SeaWorld improperly downplayed the impact of the documentary, which criticized its treatment of orcas, or killer whales, over an eight-month period that ended in Aug. 2014, when the company acknowledged that bad publicity was hurting attendance. It said SeaWorld's stock fell by about a third as a result.

"This case underscores the need for a company to provide investors with timely and accurate information that has an adverse impact on its business," Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC enforcement division, said in a statement.

SeaWorld did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2018 00:06:00 IST