stigma

Victory! Cedar Fair closes FearVR Ride

Chrisa Hickey1920 views

After our calls and emails to Knott’s Berry Farm and Hollow Studios, the online petition, and posts, articles, and letters from the Orange County chapter of NAMI, Pete Earley, Ron Thomas, and Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez, Cedar Fair Entertainment, the parent company of Knott’s Berry Farm, California’s Great America, and Canada’s Wonderland Park have closed the FearVR attraction in all three parks!

Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, shared this email he received from Knott’s Berry Farm last night:

Knott’s Berry Farm is proud of its popular annual Southern California Halloween event, Knott’s Scary Farm. For more than 40 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 – 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 time frame, at this time we have decided to close the attraction”.

Best Regards,

Public Relations | Marketing
8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park CA 90620
Office (714) 220.5130 | Fax (714) 220.5124

 

Steve Lopez of the LA Times is the reporter that wrote the book that became the movie The Soloist, about Nathanial Ayers, the amazing classical violinist he met on the streets of Los Angeles after Ayers developed schizophrenia. Let’s not forget what Steve wrote in his article  about the ride (linked above):

But another line in the email made me wonder if Knott’s was taking blame or pointing a finger: 

They knew it was about a mental institution.  As Ron Thomas was quoted in the same article, “if it waddles and quacks…”

Call me cynical, but now, we need to KEEP it closed. I fear that, after the fervor dies down now, they will quietly re-open the attraction.  I will keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, please contact Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Fair Entertainment and thank them for closing the ride.

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