1. say what says

    love meat and wear leather BUT this 1 time…I/m going to have to agree with PETA

    The aquarium shouldn’t allow any venues with music whether a circuit party or some jazz festival shindig

  2. Chip says

    Every time I read anything about PETA I get hungry for KFC. I think I’ll have some for lunch today.

  3. bicurious says

    I’m with Peta on this one all the way. If humans are going to hold animals in captivity at the very least we should treat the animals with as much sensitivity and care as possible. Subjecting them to loud noise and flashing lights if it upsets them is nothing but cruel.

  4. wtf says

    yeah, I don’t LOVE PETA but I think they’re right this time. We shouldn’t be subjecting caged/tanked wild animals to inhumane treatment. We don’t eat Beluga whale. That’s pretty $hitty.

  5. anon says

    It’s hard for sounds to be transmitted from air to water (and the other way too), so while this could be investigated with underwater microphones, it seems like PETA hyperbole again. It might be that they attack because the sounds will hide their sneaking up on the seals.

  6. ohplease says

    There’s so much wrong with this story, so I’ll just focus on this: wow, Mathews is not aging well at all.

  7. luminum says

    Uh, I was there. The article makes it seem as though the party was some kind of sweaty, bump and grind, music-blasted affair.

    It wasn’t. In fact, it was one of the tamer things I had experienced. The dancing was only in the main area, where there are no direct exhibits or tanks. The only access to tanks was through corridors into the exhibits.

    The Ocean Ballroom had some music playing after a drag show, which was about 30 minutes long and none of the music was blaring or “ear-splitting” during that time or afterward. It was essentially a gala event, not some sort of all night clubber.

    I stayed by the beluga tank for the majority of the night at the Ocean Ballroom and never once saw any of the belugas “attacking” the seals in the tank. Instead, all they did was swim around in slow, lazy circles, like they do on any other day at the aquarium when I visit.

    I will agree that I was shocked that the aquarium would host music venues in the ballroom given the obvious sound transfer to the tanks (or that it was even built that way), but I never considered the music to be loud in the way Mathews claims. Most of the time, I never even noticed the music, and if anything, the sound of people talking was much louder.

    So really, the picture Mathews is painting–ear-splitting music at some sort of imaginary bump and grind circuit party/club scene that caused beluga whales to start attacking seals? Never happened. I really want to know what party Dan Mathews went to, because clearly, we weren’t at the same one.

  8. Jesus says

    Holding animals captivity? Does anyone ever ponder the great amount of conservation and research that goes into aquariums? There is plenty to debate and uncover about the treatment of animals at these aquariums, but really?

    Why do we still give PETA credibility when they have been shown time and again to be full of hypocritical crackpots that espouse half-truths and utilize oppressive measures to further their message? There are plenty of other groups that have a more level-headed approach to these topics and have a lot more credibility.

  9. Laura says

    Gotta agree with PETA on this. Why would the aquarium permit this? The captivity of these creatures aside, they should certainly be concerned with the welfare of their bread and butter.

  10. Hollywood, Ca says

    “The aquarium’s guide, who was stationed at the tank to answer questions, said that loud music is especially bothersome to the whales” – End of story. If the people that work there think it’s a bad idea, it should never have been hosted there. ESPECIALLY after seeing “The Cove.” I never knew these animals were so sensative to sound, and I hate that they’re being held captive.

    Aquariums and Zoos should only house animals that don’t need a lot of space, and will not be harmed by their surroundings. :(

  11. Darrell says

    That trainer in the photo with the whale is a cutie. And, yeah, PETA’s totally right this time.

  12. JK says

    “Why do we still give PETA credibility when they have been shown time and again to be full of hypocritical crackpots that espouse half-truths and utilize oppressive measures to further their message? There are plenty of other groups that have a more level-headed approach to these topics and have a lot more credibility.”

    Not really sure why this is such a popular opinion, since PETA clearly does a tremendous amount of good work that no other groups are willing to take the risks to do (see: Especially regarding the way animal use and abuse is regulated, addressed, investigated and resolved, I’d say that PETA leads the pack.

    In this instance, if you’ll not look at any other example, PETA seems to have blown the aquarium out of the water, so to speak.

  13. Rob says

    I live in Atlanta and was at that party. First of all, it’s misleading to call it a circuit party. It was not a circuit party, it was a cocktail party (much more low key and restrained than is implied in the term “circuit party”) with the majority of the music confined to a central atrium, away from most of the animals. The beluga tank did adjoin the ballroom, where the VIP reception was held, but I have previously been involved in event production and briefly worked with the GA Aquarium about potentially hosting an event there, and they have pretty strict noise level restrictions in that area for that reason.

    As far as the majority of the other animals in the aquarium, their habitats were located farther away from the music, which you couldn’t hear when you went back to see them. If the music is indeed harmful to the animals, the party should be relocated. But I think a deeper look than the sensationalistic claims of PETA and an aquarium employee grouchy about having to work on a Friday night is necessary before calling foul on Atlanta Pride or the GA Aquarium.

  14. Bryan says

    Sorry, I’m for animal rights, but not for PETA. They’ve made themselves a laughing stock over the years and proved to be nothing but immature bullies, that I just can’t take them seriously anymore.

  15. Drew says

    First of all, I actually used to sympathize with PETA, but after the pride festival, I definitely do not, and after reading this, I am pretty angry.

    Let’s be clear Dan Matthews, is a scumbag liar. And who does he think he is fooling other than his own credibility? Its his word against 4,000 other peoples word. This is the largest aquarium in the world. The place is HUGE. The meeting spaces are very much separated from the exhibit spaces.

    I go to this party EVERY YEAR and it is my favorite party of the year. Every active member of the gay community in Atlanta comes to this event, and that is part of the reason it is so great. Its a one-time gathering of everyone to celebrate ourselves and our city – in a space that exemplifies the greatness of our city as host to the worlds largest aquarium whose own directors reached out to us to host the event every year.

    This is a COCKTAIL PARTY!! How old and audio-sensitive is this guy?? Ear-splitting?? And what on earth made him think this is a circuit party? There is only 20-30 people out of the 4000 dancing at the whole party and its in this small circular space far away from any animals. This guy is as bad to me as a gay republican hanging out with Ann Coulter. What a LIAR!!

    Secondly, I was annoyed with PETA’s presence at the park being all confrontational telling us to spay and neuter our pets. REALLY? You are at a GAY festival telling me that my pet should not enjoy his/her sexuality?? These people stand for nothing except their Kardashian-Palin Famewhoredom.

    Also, might I add, that the Beluga whale exhibit was one of the most quietest places in the entire event space – whereas the music was mostly ambient soft background noise. The tunnels and corridors are designed as such that the sound from the main event spaces do not affect the learning spaces in the exhibits! Everyone was conversing in regular-pitches voices with no interference. I toured the whole aquarium as I always do, and never once saw any animals behaving aggressively.

    This piece by LIAR Dan Matthrews is a complete alternative reality that DIDNT happen!! SHAME ON THIS LIAR!!

  16. Also Rob says

    I live in ATL, and I’ve been to all three of the Pride aquarium parties. The story mischaracterizes them. They are not circuit parties. They are cocktail parties. The music is not ear spitting, it’s not even loud. Most of the tanks are well way from the music. Rob’s comments above are dead on.

  17. jason says

    Gays as sophisticated? Please, gays would hold their circuit party in Anita Bryant’s back-yard if it were made available at a discount price. Sophisticated we ain’t.

  18. Jesus says

    @JK, I’m glad you get your facts about PETA from PETA, because clearly they would be unbiased, right?

    All the “good” they do? Like degrading women to further their message?

    Or how they kill most of their adoptable animals?

    Or how they fund what would otherwise be labeled terrorism?

    Please, enlighten me why I should still give them any credibility because I’m running out of reasons to.

  19. CPT_Doom says

    The only quote from an aquarium staffer is from Matthews’ own article. The staffer is never identified other than by her gender. Would love to know if any of the women working that night remember having this conversation.

  20. Paul R says

    Dan Mathews is close friends with Pamela Anderson. Doesn’t that say enough about his intellect?

    I’d like to hang out and travel exclusively with that trainer. Hot damn.

  21. BMF says

    I’m just surprised that so many humans think their judgment about what is loud (or not)is sufficient to determine what too is loud or appropriate for an animal. I have no idea at what decibel level a beluga may decide a noise is disturbing, but I do know enough to know that I cannot make this determination since I’m not an f’ing beluga.

  22. Joshua says

    The best part was when they let over-heated circuit queens hop into the tanks to cool off. That and the free lines of coke they let party go-ers snort off the backs of penguins strapped on top of slow-moving sea turtles…

    Are you kidding me with this? I was there for four hours, both in the ballroom and in the main aquarium area. Folks not from Atlanta probably can’t appreciate how immensely huge these tanks are and how not loud the music was. I didn’t have to scream to anyone to be heard.

    I can only imagine that the marine animals appreciated the break from toddlers and poorly-behaved children beating on the glass.

    I don’t know enough about PETA to launch a public attack against them in the Huffington Post, like this individual does without seeking quotes from Atlanta Pride of the Georgia Aquarium, but I think Atlanta Pride does a lot of good and that the Georgia Aquarium does a lot of good (like saving Belugas from amusement parks –,2933,239545,00.html.

    I can’t speak Beluga to find out if they like being in captivity, but I’m sure they are happy about not being whaled, being fed regularly in non-polluted waters and getting free health care.

  23. DJ COREY CRAIG says

    Hello All

    I was the headlining DJ for this event.

    Someone who I believe was this Dan Matthews came to the DJ booth (without introduction but wearing plenty of attitude) and asked me if I were informed of Decibel Levels (I thought he was talking about a loud, obnoxious drag performer but I digress). It is also interesting to note that he had no instruments by which to measure this alleged offensive volume AND was the ONLY person of all 4700 people in attendance to TRY to complain.

    I instructed this rude, snide, poorly dressed individual to take his questions to the audio engineers stationed underneath the area where my DJ booth was created. I now sincerely doubt he did as I asked.


    1) In the OCEAN’S BALLROOM, which actually feature the Belugas as well as Whale Sharks, etc, DJ Jay McCracken’s volume level was meticulously controlled by a team of sound engineers fully aware of safe, nondisruptive levels for events such as ours.

    2) The Main Hall, which is where I spun, has no view or shared any visible aquarium walls. Imagine the foyer in a theater where all movies (or in this case, exhibits) let out into a food court or common area. The Main Hall is (from my perspective) safely removed from crucial tanks and exhibits. The volume in the main hall was conversational at best. As a club DJ, I know levels. The level inside the main hall was appropriate for what this event was… a COCKTAIL fundraiser. My volume was controlled for me. I could not get BOOM BOOM loud if I wanted to.

    If this is what Dan considers a “CIRCUIT PARTY”… honey, he needs to get out more, use an altoid before getting out of the car, and for god sakes, ditch the hideous shirt he was wearing last friday night….

    (you are embarrassing your cause)

    P.S. If the Belugas were sooo disturbed by the music, why were they having sex during the party (there is apparently video out there)…

    P.P.S. Instead of fabricating the victimization of Marine life, why not plan your PETA booth better at Pride next time (your “PIG” was two booths down from the Gay Gun Rights Advocates for a good while the next day at the festival)…. Focus Dan, Focus.

  24. John R W says

    The image of the “trainer” is a photo of Justin Bieber posing with a whale..just saying.

  25. dj says

    You have got to be kidding me? Get a grip people. In addition to the comments about difficulty of transmitting sound from air to water, the tanks are insulated by at least 2 feet of pressed glass. Plus, when I talked to the person in the ballroom, she said that the volume was limited to be sure that the animals did not get disturbed by the sound. So, it sounds like the aquarium folks were well tuned into the needs of the animals in their care. Additionally, I watched the beluga whales, and they seemed to be energized by all the people around and completely ignored the harbor seals. This is an example of extremists turning the slightest thing into a major issue. PETA should focus on the real issues of animal abuse not animals being exposed to music they don’t like.

    Finally, to call it a circuit party is a stretch. It was more like a giant cocktail party. I encourage more to attend.

  26. fern says

    Any wrongs PETA has done is a raindrop compared to an ocean of wrongs done by the animal exploitation industries.

  27. Drew says

    To everyone who is commenting in this thread, can you please comment on the main article in Huff Post? The readers need to get the whole story and the Huff Post needs to be wary of running columns for this idiot in the future. Thanks.

  28. says

    I didn’t go to that. It was nothing but an elitist party full of the richest Atlanta gays. I guess enjoying cocktails on the balconies of their multi-million dollar penthouses wasn’t enough.

  29. Atlanta Guy says

    I was there, it was NOT a circuit party, it was exactly what has been described by the other Atlantans here: a cocktail party that raises money for Atlanta Pride. Furthermore, Georgia Aquarium was designed as an event space, it is a state-of-the-art facility. PETA would object to any aquarium, and everyone gets that. But to call this event an animal-torturing circuit party is an hysterical, manipulative lie.

  30. KT says

    First of all, Mathews didn’t call it a “circuit party,” this Towleroad post did.

    Secondly, anyone who wants an idea of how loud it was can click on the video in this story:

    The room featured in the video leads to all the exhibits, and the music pounded through all of them, plus there was a separate dj in the main room where the belugas are.