Empire State Building in Red for Dolphins

By Ric O’Barry
Dolphin Project

All weekend long, the iconic Empire State Building in New York will be lit up in red to remind the world about the plight of dolphins.

The owner of the Empire State Building was inspired to get involved after seeing the Academy-Award winning feature documentary The Cove.

Actor John Leguizamo, known for a wide number of starring roles in movies and television, including Moulin Rouge and Romeo+Juliet, was there on Friday bringing star power, joining The Cove’s director Louie Psihoyos and The Cove’s produce Fisher Stevens, and our Dolphin Project volunteer and professional race car driver Leilani Munter.  It was great fun for all of us to meet the media and ceremonially pull the handle of the main circuit for the light show.  And we had great views from the top of the building, nicknamed “the most famous building in the world.”  I’m pretty sure King Kong had something to do with that.

We are working to get the word out in Japan, so our story (Louie filmed the entire event) and photos are being prepared in Japanese for distribution to the media there. The ceremony was not an attack on the people of Japan.  It was rather a plea for their help in shutting down the Cove.  It’s really up to them.   We need to let the people of Japan know what is happening in Taiji and other remote ports of Japan, where the government issues permits to kill dolphins for meat – meat that is highly contaminated with mercury and other pollutants.

Dolphin Project would like to thank our good friends John Leguizamo, Fisher Stevens, Louie Psihoyos, and of course Leilani Munter for participating in this event and helping to make it such a success.  And thanks to Deborah Bassett for taking photos of the event.  Thanks also to Fonda Berosini for helping organize the event.

Deborah Bassett’s Huffington Post article is here:


Someday soon we will all get together at some tall building in Tokyo, and light it up in blue lights to symbolize an end to the killing of dolphins and whales in that country.

Won’t that be something!


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About Ric O'Barry

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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.

In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.

From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.

Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.

O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.

Author: Ric O'Barry


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