Clairemont - Almost two months after watching the documentary Blackfish, a film that critically examines dozens of incidents involving orcas and trainers, 13-year-old Max Guinn is posing a unique challenge.
Guinn say it's time for a public debate about orcas and he has this message for SeaWorld - “let’s have a debate with a team from Blackfish and kids will host it.”
While Guinn has been to SeaWorld more than a hundred times, he said watching the documentary Blackfish opened his eyes.
“I was shocked and very sad,” he said.
Guinn is no stranger to feeling passionate about a cause.
Four years ago, he and his mother co-founded Kids Eco Club, which has helped start environmental groups in more than 100 local schools -- reaching 20,000 students.
He said many of those students have talked to him about their own concerns after watching Blackfish.
Guinn created an online petition. It asks, among a series of requests, for SeaWorld to stop keeping orcas in captivity. Now Guinn has decided to take it a step further.
In front of our cameras, he issued the debate challenge to SeaWorld.
Guinn said because kids are a big reason why families go to SeaWorld, he's proposing a youth-moderated debate between a SeaWorld team and a Blackfish team -- with kids asking live questions. Guinn believes he can get more than 1,000 students to attend and he has secured a venue.
The director of Blackfish has already agreed to the debate.
“I just felt like I had to do something about it, because if nobody does anything it's just going to keep on happening,” said Guinn.
SeaWorld has disputed the conclusions reached in Blackfish.
In a statement, a SeaWorld spokesperson said: "As we responded last week to the filmmaker's debate challenge, we have no interest in helping promote a film this dishonest and manipulative. Our position has not changed."
On Monday, the director of Blackfish -- in San Diego for a screening -- agreed to go to three schools with Guinn to talk about orcas. Guinn said SeaWorld has also been invited.