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Public backlash forces closure of Knott's Berry Farm halloween attraction
POSTED 30 Sep 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
A temporary attraction installed for Halloween at Knott’s Berry Farm has been shut down after complaints from mental health advocates.

The virtual reality attraction – FearVR: 5150 – stirred up controversy with its content, which focused on a possessed patient on the loose in a dilapidated hospital. The number 5150 in the experience’s name refers to the California state code for an involuntary psychiatric hold.

"You get in there and get the headset on, you know you're in an insane asylum, and that this patient, is loose and is going to do bad things to you. It's wrong," said mental health advocate Ron Thomas, whose schizophrenic son Kelly Thomas died in a confrontation with police in 2011.

"The mentally ill are people. They're human beings. They're suffering. They have illnesses, and we have to do something to help them – not demonise them. Not to continue the stigma of mental illness,” he said, speaking to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

Following Thomas’ and others’ opposition to the temporary attraction, Knott’s Berry received backlash on social media, leading to its decision to remove it from the park, while its parent company Cedar Fair has also closed down the attraction at two of its other parks in Santa Clara and in Toronto, Canada.

"California's Great America is proud of its popular annual Halloween Haunt event,” said a statement from Knott’s Berry.

“For nine years we have delivered unique and immersive haunted experiences to our fans and loyal guests. Our evening attractions are designed to be edgy, and are aimed at an adult-only audience.

“Over the past week we have heard from a number of people expressing their concern that one of our temporary, Halloween attractions – FearVR: 5150 – is hurtful to those who suffer from mental illnesses.

“Contrary to some traditional and social media accounts, the attraction's story and presentation were never intended to portray mental illness. As it is impossible to address both concerns and misconceptions in the Halloween timeframe, at this time we have decided to close the attraction."

Halloween has in recent years become firmly set as a staple of the attractions sector, prompting millions of people to visit theme parks across the US and the rest of the world. Worth more than US$7bn (€6.2bn, £5.4bn) a year to the US alone, the event is the second-largest commercial programme after Christmas.

Universal is the leader in Halloween horror attractions, drawing more than 600,000 visitors annually, while Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the originators of the idea, starting its Halloween festivities in 1973.
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NEWS
Public backlash forces closure of Knott's Berry Farm halloween attraction
POSTED 30 Sep 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
A temporary attraction installed for Halloween at Knott’s Berry Farm has been shut down after complaints from mental health advocates.

The virtual reality attraction – FearVR: 5150 – stirred up controversy with its content, which focused on a possessed patient on the loose in a dilapidated hospital. The number 5150 in the experience’s name refers to the California state code for an involuntary psychiatric hold.

"You get in there and get the headset on, you know you're in an insane asylum, and that this patient, is loose and is going to do bad things to you. It's wrong," said mental health advocate Ron Thomas, whose schizophrenic son Kelly Thomas died in a confrontation with police in 2011.

"The mentally ill are people. They're human beings. They're suffering. They have illnesses, and we have to do something to help them – not demonise them. Not to continue the stigma of mental illness,” he said, speaking to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

Following Thomas’ and others’ opposition to the temporary attraction, Knott’s Berry received backlash on social media, leading to its decision to remove it from the park, while its parent company Cedar Fair has also closed down the attraction at two of its other parks in Santa Clara and in Toronto, Canada.

"California's Great America is proud of its popular annual Halloween Haunt event,” said a statement from Knott’s Berry.

“For nine years we have delivered unique and immersive haunted experiences to our fans and loyal guests. Our evening attractions are designed to be edgy, and are aimed at an adult-only audience.

“Over the past week we have heard from a number of people expressing their concern that one of our temporary, Halloween attractions – FearVR: 5150 – is hurtful to those who suffer from mental illnesses.

“Contrary to some traditional and social media accounts, the attraction's story and presentation were never intended to portray mental illness. As it is impossible to address both concerns and misconceptions in the Halloween timeframe, at this time we have decided to close the attraction."

Halloween has in recent years become firmly set as a staple of the attractions sector, prompting millions of people to visit theme parks across the US and the rest of the world. Worth more than US$7bn (€6.2bn, £5.4bn) a year to the US alone, the event is the second-largest commercial programme after Christmas.

Universal is the leader in Halloween horror attractions, drawing more than 600,000 visitors annually, while Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the originators of the idea, starting its Halloween festivities in 1973.
RELATED STORIES
Tokyo aquarium introducing horror nights for Halloween


Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium is taking the unique approach of combining its tropical fish and relaxing scenes with extreme terror, as the usually family-friendly visitor attraction will at night become a hair-raising fright fest for the month of Halloween.
Tokyo aquarium introducing horror nights for Halloween


Tokyo’s Sunshine Aquarium is taking the unique approach of combining its tropical fish and relaxing scenes with extreme terror, as the usually family-friendly visitor attraction will at night become a hair-raising fright fest for the month of Halloween.
Eli Roth’s killer clown to ‘haunt guests for the rest of their lives’ at Universal Hollywood scarefest


Eli Roth, the director of horror hits Cabin Fever and Hostel, is returning to collaborate on Halloween Horror Nights.
Universal Orlando reveals VR experience for Halloween Horror Nights


Universal Orlando is for the first time introducing a virtual reality component to its Halloween Horror Nights event, with a new interactive experience combining VR and real- life actors.
MORE NEWS
Government focuses on regional growth, with launch of £20m culture fund
Britain's minister for arts, Michael Ellis, has launched a £20m fund for culture, heritage and the creative industries to benefit towns and cities across England.
MuseumNext Europe 2018: Don't deflect responsibility on the issue of diversity
Diversity was among the topics up for discussion at this year's MuseumNext conference in London, with Shaz Hussain, assistant curator at the London Science Museum, telling delegates not "deflect responsibility" on the issue.
National Geographic uses augmented reality to create world's first open-air planetarium in Canada
National Geographic has teamed up with augmented reality provider Aryzon to create the world's first open air planetarium, using AR to project images into the night sky for a unique stargazing experience.
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LATEST JOBS
Groups Sales and Marketing Executive
Royal Horticultural Society
Salary: Circa £25k depending on experience
Job location: Wisley, Woking, UK
Head of Commercial Operations
The Silverstone Experience
Salary: £50,000- 55,000 pro-rata per annum + benefits
Job location: Northamptonshire, UK
Chief Operating Officer
Brooklands Museum Trust Ltd
Salary: £60,000
Job location: Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Commercial Leisure Manager - Coastal Attractions
Denbighshire County Council
Salary: £41,846 — £44,697 (plus up to £8,000 relocation allowance)
Job location: Rhyl, UK
Theming Production Manager
Merlin Entertainments Group
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Staffordshire, UK
Fastrack and VIP Team Leader
Thorpe Park Resort
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Chertsey, UK
+ More jobs  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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