Steve-O has been sentenced to 30 days in Los Angeles County jail for a stunt that he pulled in August.
In early August, he climbed a crane in Hollywood and shot off fireworks in a protest against SeaWorld. He was also carrying an inflated pool toy shaped like an orca emblazoned with “SeaWorld Sucks”, according to the Associated Press.
It drew dozens of emergency responders to the scene since the crane was over 100 feet high and he was trespassing on a construction site. Among the responders were five ambulances, a helicopter, and more than 80 firefighters.
Steve-O, after recording the entire ordeal, eventually climbed down and was taken into custody.
Back in May 2014, Steve-O was cited for a traffic infraction, where he posted the word “Sucks” after “SeaWorld” on an exit sign off the highway. Nobody knew who did it, but the California Department of Transportation removed the word from the sign on the 5 Freeway.
He posted a video of him putting the sign up, which revealed his identity to the California police, according to The Dodo.
He was told to pay a fine of $239, but PETA, one of Steve-O’s new supporters, offered to pay any fine charged against him because of his animal activism.
Today, Steve-O announced on his Instagram page that he would be in jail for the next 30 days. He also shared this comic, where he is in a jail cell next to an orca whale that asks Steve-O, “When you get out, would you tell my mom I miss her?”
This is a jab at SeaWorld since they are notorious for separating mother and calf, even though in the wild, calves stay with their mothers for their entire lives. The company has also been known to capture calves from their pods in the wild to take them in as captives.
Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove talked about SeaWorld’s separation of mother and calf in the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.”
Hargrove explains, “Kalina was the first baby Shamu. She had become quite disruptive and challenging her mom a little bit, and disrupting from shows and that kind of thing.”
The company decided then to move Kalina to another park, ultimately separating mother and baby.
“It was decided by the higher ups that she would be moved to another park when she was just four and a half years old. To me it had never crossed my mind that they might be moving the baby from her mom,” Hargrove said.
Katina is described as not an overly vocal whale, but after her calf’s disappearance, “she stayed in the corner of the pool … literally shaking and screaming.”
SeaWorld’s curator of zoological operations Chuck Tompkins responded, “We’ve never moved a calf from mom. … We think they’re probably dependent [at] 4 to 5 years. After that, they start to gain their dependence.”
Plenty of research has shown the opposite. Calves, even through adulthood, will very often stay with their mothers in their pod for their whole lives because they are extremely family-based and social animals.
In fact, just on Oct. 3, Sooke Coastal Explorations saw a mother and son swimming together off the coast of Canada. The mother, Wakana, is 52 years old and her son, Rainy, is 37.
“My whole crane-climbing, fireworks debacle really turned out to be pretty meaningful in the end,” Steve-O said of the stunt. “I mean, if your goal is to make a statement about captivity, you may as well get yourself locked up!”
You can follow more of Jordan’s stories about orca captivity here.