Earlier this week, mental health advocates’ protests regarding Cedar Fair Entertainment Company’s stigmatizing FEAR-VR ‘attractions’ where “visitors are strapped into a wheelchair in the psychiatric hospital’s exam room” encounter a demonically possessed patient resulted in Cedar Fair’s decision to close these attractions (http://www.nyaprs.org/e-news-bulletins/2016/015246.cfm).
In the space of a few more days, we have won yet another such victory!
Several members of our emerging coalition had discovered that Six Flags Entertainment Company had added a new set of attractions to several of its parks that were extraordinarily and explicitly defamatory and discriminatory to our community:
- PSYCHO-PATH Haunted Asylum: Our new haunted house brings you face-to-face with your worst fears. Traverse the haunted hallways of PSYCHO-PATH Haunted Asylum and try not to bump into any of the grunting inmates around every turn. Maniacal inmates yell out from their bloodstained rooms and deranged guards wander the corridors in search of those who have escaped. …Dr. Shockmoore will proudly showcase his latest in deranged experiments as you witness a lobotomy, shock treatment and isolation of his most insane and twisted patients. Will you escape or become Dr. Shockmoore’s latest experiment in his deranged and twisted plan?"
- Dark Oaks Asylum: Our new haunted house brings you face-to-face with the world’s worst psychiatric patients. Traverse the haunted hallways of Dark Oaks Asylum and try not to bump into any of the grunting inmates around every turn. Maniacal inmates yell out from their bloodstained rooms and deranged guards wander the corridors in search of those who have escaped.
Following an immediate response from advocates from across the nation, Six Flags has responded with the following statement:
“We are making immediate changes to this attraction including converting the theme and will change out the references in advertising and social media to reflect the new theme. The maze will now feature zombies. There was never an intention to upset the mental health community in any way. This is a good lesson for us all about perpetuating stereotypes, and we apologize to anyone that we may have offended.”
These 2 victories are an extraordinary testimony to the power of our community and our shared cause. Great thanks are due to all of you and to the response of the companies.