back to top

GOP Congressman In Twitter Fight With "Free Willy" Star For Using Movie's Image In Anti-ObamaCare Message

"Shameful comes to mind..."

Posted on

Jason James Richter, who played the lead role of Jesse in the 1990s blockbuster Free Willy, slammed Republicans Thursday for using the movie's iconic poster in an anti-ObamaCare graphic.

Republican Congressman Tim Griffin of Arkansas posted the image of the poster on his Facebook page Thursday with the title "FREE AMERICA FROM OBAMACARE." The post contained a link at the bottom to, the Republican House Conference official page chaired by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington. The story also linked to an article about SeaWorld saying that they would be cutting employee hours most likely to avoid offering employees medical insurance under ObamaCare.

"I think it's terrible. To many thought to convey in 140 characters. Shameful comes to mind though," Richter told BuzzFeed via Twitter.

In a follow-up tweet, Richter again said the use of the film for partisan political gain was "shameful."

"The film holds a special place for a lot of people. To use the iconic poster image to further a political agenda is shameful."

Congressman Tim Griffin responded on Twitter: "Any word yet on whether @JasonRichter_ also thinks it's terrible that SeaWorld's employees and their families are being hurt by #Obamacare?"

Richter replied to Griffin "really congressman? Don't you have better things to do? Go do your job, sir."

The image of the Republican graphic and the theme song to Free Willy have been embedded below:

This headline has been updated to reflect the latest developments

View this video on YouTube

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.