Demers did not listen. On 18 May 2019, he took to the streets and climbed a ladder among a throng of protesters, bullhorn hot in his hands. BAAAAAR-BAAAAAR. He screamed that the park would never silence him or anyone else.

Recalling the day, Demers grins. “I didn’t make it easy on him,” he said about his lawyer.

Five years earlier, in March 2013, Marineland had filed a lawsuit demanding C$1.5m (£906,586) from Demers, who had worked as an animal trainer at the park for 12 years. Demers had quit the previous year after getting fed up with the animal suffering he said he had witnessed.

Yet Marineland didn’t sue Demers for libel. Instead, they sued him for trespassing and plotting to steal one of their heaviest residents: a 1,200lb walrus named Smooshi, with whom Demers had formed a bizarrely close bond.

Demers said the park’s allegations against him were a complete work of fiction. “I could do nothing but laugh,” he said.

Within a month, he had filed a counterclaim for defamation and abuse of process, thinking everything might get resolved within a year or two. But the legal battle stretched over a decade and accrued costs of around C$250,000, pushing him to his financial and mental limits […]

Read more in The Guardian.