His name is Fred Jacobs and, according to the Orlando Sentinel, he "declined to give a reason for his departure." His last day was yesterday.

I emailed with Jacobs when I was working on a piece about the captive killer whale industry, which started in the Pacific Northwest. After reading the book Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove, who used to work at SeaWorld, I emailed Fred Jacobs to get SeaWorld's response to Hargrove's allegations.

Hargrove's allegations included

food deprivation ("The practice has been kept secret" because "it would not be good for business to say that the stars of the show were not given food in order to make them perform"), chronic stress ("Many were medicated for ulcers"), artificial insemination ("We used a small lubricated plastic tube—no thicker than a ballpoint pen but flexible—to figure out the pathways of her vagina"), incest (one female "was bred with her uncle... twice"), forcible separation of mothers and calves (one female "had been taken from her mother, then she had her first calf taken from her, and then she herself was removed from the side of her second calf"), and forcible impregnation of youths ("Females that in the wild would be too young to breed").

Beneath the Surface also alleges that orcas suffer from "quiet desperation and intense boredom." "Killer whales, longing for stimulation, have learned to regurgitate food just to keep themselves busy," Hargrove writes. "Almost all the whales in SeaWorld" obsessively grind their teeth against the "ledges, floors, and stages" of their pools, and some "peel the paint off the pool's inner walls with their teeth... trying to occupy themselves."

Fred Jacobs did not address the allegations one by one. In a statement to The Stranger, he said that Hargrove's book contained statements that were "purposefully misleading or demonstrably false." He did not elaborate on what those statements were.

It's hard out there for a SeaWorld spokesperson.