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Actor James Cromwell cited after orca show protest at SeaWorld in San Diego, police say

Actor James Cromwell was cited for trespassing Monday after he and six other activists interrupted an orca show at SeaWorld in San Diego to stage a protest, police said.

Shortly after he was detained at the park, Cromwell was released, according to officer Billy Hernandez, spokesman for the San Diego Police Department. The other activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were also detained, the organization said.

A live Facebook video that was recorded by PETA showed the “Babe” and “L.A. Confidential” star yelling into a megaphone in front an audience at the “Orca Encounter” show as other demonstrators gather behind him and hold up “SeaWorld Kills” signs.

“Orcas in the wild… swim with their families,” said Cromwell, who wore a “SeaWorld Sucks” T-shirt. “Here they do not swim with their families. They are separated from them.”

As Cromwell talked to the crowd of onlookers, a killer whale leaped out of a large pool and dove into the water.

Much of the longtime activist’s speech was drowned out by background music and a trainer who also got on a microphone and carried on with the show.

At one point, an audience member appeared to try to slap the megaphone from Cromwell’s hand.

But that didn’t deter the “Young Pope” star who went on and said, “They are suffering and you have to know that.”

At some point, Cromwell was separated from the group, handcuffed and taken into custody, the organization said in a statement.

"Orcas deserve a full life in the ocean, not a life sentence of swimming endless circles until they drop dead from disease," Cromwell said in the statement. "My friends at PETA and I want SeaWorld to move these intelligent animals to seaside sanctuaries without delay.

On Tuesday, PETA said a security guard assaulted three protesters after they were detained.

SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz said the demonstration was “nothing more than a PETA publicity stunt.”

“Our first priority is to ensure a safe and great experience for our guests, who come to SeaWorld to enjoy a day with their families,” he said. “Fortunately, we promptly managed the disruption and our guests were pleased with our actions. The truth is that all our animals, including our orcas, get extraordinary veterinary care from a dedicated and loving team of experts.”

This isn’t the first arrest for Cromwell.

He was sentenced in June to a week in jail for obstructing traffic during a 2015 sit-in at the construction site of a natural gas-fired power plant in New York.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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