Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Speedo Man Controversy - Interview with Pelagic Life!

Yes I did rant - but not much, at least not by my standards.
Even before meeting them personally, I had developed a lot of respect for Pelagic Life and didn't want to go down too hard on inherently good people who had obviously decided to set themselves a challenge and go where nobody had gone before, i.e. to do the first cage-less night dive with GWS. The speedo stunt was just that, a boisterous stunt, with the principal sin being that Rodrigo should have just enjoyed the personal experience and refrained from putting those images online. 
But having once been young and a thrill seeker myself, I do understand.

But now the speedo man has gone global.
Even after some amendments (yes believe it or not - this would be the amended version!), the piece continues to be ugly and stupid, and is tarnishing the brand that Jero and friends continue to build so carefully and so intelligently - and with some major donations and a major push forward at stake, this has now become a serious problem.

I've talked to Jero and it's obvious that he has been shafted.
But don't take it from me but hear it directly from the horse's mouth. I know this is the truth, and my full support for Pelagic Life remains unchanged - provided, that is, that the lessons have been learned which I don't doubt for a second!

Hola Jero.
My-oh-my, what a mess.
What has happened?

The article published by Mail Online (UK) is the single most disastrous publicity fiasco Pelagic Life has gone through. For the last few days half of the members in Pelagic Life have been in crisis mode to resolve this situation as swiftly as humanly possible.

Let me explain what went wrong.
Pelagic Life was contacted by Barcroft Media (UK), who wanted to publish an article about great white sharks in Mexico. After several conversations we agreed that the article had to contain some critical components before we agreed to sign off the media content:
  • This was not an article to promote the general public to pursue out of cage diving with great whites 
  • Professional images where to be used throughout the article
  • Sharks where not to be demonized in the article
  • In the article the purpose of the expedition would be illustrated: The purpose of this expedition was to capture unique underwater images in order to show Mexicans the existence and relevance of a top ocean predator in their country.
Barcroft Media returned with a news article proposal [1] containing a “decent” fit to our parameters, you can even find proof of our initial intentions here.

Two days later we are greeted with an entirely different story and get completely screwed over.
We quickly contacted Barcroft Media [2] stating the fallacies of the article and the major misalignment in our initial agreement. By which they responded by basically saying someone screwed up and sorry, but it wasn’t Barcroft Medias fault [3]. They promised that the original article would be amended but the amended version is essentially as bad as the original.
Currently we are asking Barcroft Media for the full retraction for lack of copyright and breach of contract, hopefully they will react swiftly to remove the article.

Lesson learned - at an extremely high price:
Never trust sensitive underwater images/stories to someone who has absolutely no interest in what you believe in

And those images of the speedo man?

In hinsight, we should not have published them as they are simply too controversial and distracting.
We also made a terrible judgment call by sending bundled video clips which allowed Barcroft Media to snatch certain frames to make the infamous speedo photos. The negative impact these frames brought about have taught us a serious lesson.

What’s next?
  • Don’t expect to ever see those speedo photos again
  • Pelagic Life will continue to produce underwater media (photo/video) to inspire protection for pelagic life. Furthermore we will continue our grass roots initiatives to protect open ocean marine life in Mexico.
  • If you want to see the details of those e-mails [2] and [3] mentioned above, email me at

Thanks- all clear now!
Long story short?
No goo deed goes unpunished.
Control your media - and never, ever, hand them to somebody else!
Especially not to those lying bastards in England!
David? :)

[1] Barcroft Media proposal 

COMING face to face with a great white shark is most swimmers worst nightmare. 
But these divers are happy enough to float within touching distance of the powerful predators. 
The incredible images were captured by Pelagic Life, a non-profit association which aims to promote ocean conservation by capturing all of its beauty on camera. 
The eye-opening encounter unfolded in the warm waters off the Baja Peninsula in north-west Mexico. 
Videographer Jeronimo Prieto, 27 said: "Having an animal that size let you enter its natural habitat was a humbling experience. 
"These animals are truly majestic creatures. And having the opportunity to share space with one of them was a dream come true. 
"The conditions were perfect. 
There was no current, excellent visibility and a single, calm male Great White Shark." 
They had been filming from the safety of a cage before plucking up the courage to swim freely with the world's largest predatory fish. 
But with years of underwater experience Jeronimo, and fellow divers and photographers Rodrigo Friscione, 30, and Eduardo Martinez, 32, knew they could not let their guard down for a second. 
"In a situation like this, non-one can feel completely comfortable," said Jeronimo, 
"While in the water we constantly watch each other's back and utterly respect the nature of the situation. "The three of us had to be completely on guard and extremely conscious and aware of every single move the shark made. 
"Anybody who undermines the seriousness of a situation like this is likely to run into trouble."
Jeronimo, from Pelagic Life, hopes these stunning pictures will inspire millions to better appreciate the world's oceans - and its sharks. 
"I think the more people swim with sharks, the more they learn to appreciate the shark's beauty and their importance to the ecosystem," he added. 
 "Thankfully sharks are slowly getting back the reputation they deserve."


OfficetoOcean said...

Glad PL have addressed this on the way they have and i agree completely with your tone, don't aim to tell others what to do, but ask they are responsible with usage of any media and be understanding of the implications of the media being misinterpreted.

I'm a big fan of these guys so hope this is a minor blip and they can continue without having this hang over them.

As for the Daily Mail, they are an awful, hateful, right wing rag notorious for agenda based reporting, this remember is the newspaper whose owner was an ardent supporter and personal friend of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, once having the headline "Hoorah for the Blackshirts" on their front page.

Onwards and upwards Pelagic Life.

DaShark said...


This is ME remember?
OF COURSE I shall continue to rant, and OF COURSE I remain vehemently opposed to commercial out-of-cage diving in Lupe!

But whereas those others were self promoting money making stunts, this was I believe fueled by other motivations, so I am being lenient!

What baffles me is Barcroft who I've recommended in the past.

But no more.
The Mail is the Mail and as such a known entity - but that horrible piece is STILL online & I'm starting to believe that Barcroft, too, don't give a rat's ass about the people they represent.

OfficetoOcean said...

If you stopped ranting, I would be deeply concerned about your well being ;)

Megalobomb said...

What a shame for PL, and really not a shocker considering the Daily Mail was involved. Let it serve as a warning to all non-profits!

DaShark said...


But before we all break out in tears - they should have never left the cage...

Megalobomb said...

True dat, especially in that get up!