Lifestyle

Knotts Berry Farm Axes Potentially Offensive Halloween Show

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Knotts Berry Farm and California’s Great America theme parks have completely shut down a virtual reality experience planned for their Halloween festivities taking place throughout October. Once the attraction was deemed offensive by several people through social media, officials decided to get rid of the experience altogether.

Chatter about the offensive nature of the scary attraction called “Fear VR:5150” started when it was in previews earlier this month. People were concerned about the inclusion of mental illness. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “The 5150 attraction takes its name from the California police code for a mentally ill person who is a danger to himself or others.”

The story behind Fear VR:5150 was centered on a patient of a mental hospital who became demonically possessed. While participants watched the story unfold behind virtual reality headsets, they would be strapped to a wheelchair with a panic button in case the ordeal became too much.

People were worried that the experience would either make mental illness into lighthearted entertainment or into something to fear. After the theme parks decided to not officially open the attraction, park leaders for California’s Great America released a statement that says the experience was not meant to reflect mental illness in any way.

According to ABC13, they wrote, “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.”