Paul Watson: internationally wanted fugitive, reality TV star

Whale Wars star and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson is now an internationally wanted fugitive, as Interpol has issued a wanted notice for him after he fled Germany, where he was jailed and then released on bail after Costa Rica issued an arrest warrant and requested extradition. That’s over an incident that took place during filming of a 2002 documentary, Sharkwater.

CNN reports that Watson “posted roughly $302,000 bail and was ordered to remain in Germany as it considered Costa Rica’s extradition request, but he stopped reporting to authorities on July 22, a German court said. Watson left Germany and forfeited his bail, according to his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which isn’t revealing his location.”

Sea Shepherd is insisting this is a “politically motivated attack,” arguing that because “the Interpol notice ties Sea Shepherd to Captain Watson in its documentation[,] … this is proof the falsified charges and Costa Rican warrant are politically motivated and the result of collusion between Costa Rica and Japan.”

The statement quotes the organization’s administrative director, who said, “Sea Shepherd fully supports Captain Watson and is at work with our international teams to resolve this politically motivated battle.”

What does this mean for Whale Wars? The boats don’t head down to the Southern Ocean until around Thanksgiving, so it’s possible that this will be resolved by then and Paul Watson will join the campaign. But it seems increasingly likely that he won’t, which could be great news for the show itself, even though he alternately serves as both its protagonist and antagonist.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.