The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the violent environmentalist group behind the Discovery Channel show “Whale Wars,” is now the subject of a major Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) civil complaint. A few of the outlaw organization’s donors aren’t happy with its fundraising tactics, and are demanding damages. (We’re rooting for massive financial injuries.)
The plaintiffs, Ady Gil, Vince Dundee, and Faast Leasing California, allege that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its leader Paul Watson (a man who is wanted in two countries and was kicked out of Greenpeace for being too radical) intentionally sank a boat that was donated to them in order to solicit donations for financial gain.
The lawsuit claims that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society blamed the loss of the deliberately-sunken vessel, which was donated by Gil, on Japanese whalers. (The ship had been damaged in a collision; Gil and his co-plaintiffs allege it was repairable when Watson scuttled it.)
The Sea Shepherds then proceeded to host a fundraiser asking for money to replace the ship. According to the complaint, this manufactured PR stunt doubled financial contributions to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society within a year after the hoax was perpetrated. The plaintiffs allege that the money that was raised was not used to replace the boat as promised.
That’s probably a good thing, legal niceties aside.
The Sea Shepherds have been engaged in piracy on the high seas, and you don’t have to take our word for it—Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals called the Sea Shepherds pirates in a 2013 ruling. The longer they’re tied up in court, the safer the global sea lanes will be.