Tags: knotts berry farm | halloween | ride | mental health

Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Ride Featuring Mental Patient Shut

Image: Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Ride Featuring Mental Patient Shut

A Knott’s Berry Farm Halloween ride has been shut down because of complaints that it was insensitive to mental health patients. (Screengrab/Twitter)

By    |   Thursday, 29 Sep 2016 09:23 AM

A Knott’s Berry Farm Halloween ride has been shut down because of complaints that it was offensive and insensitive to mental health patients.

The ride called “FearVR,” has been one of the theme park’s main attractions since 1973, with the park holding its annual Halloween Haunt every October, AJC.com reported.

Officials announced the shut down on Wednesday, after some people took to social media with complaints.

The ride focuses on a story line about a possessed mental patient named “Katie,” who’s running wild in a hospital, KABC noted. Those who experience the attraction are strapped into a chair and given virtual reality goggles.

The attraction was originally given the name “FearVR: 5150,” with 5150 representing a code involving a psychiatric hold.

“You get in there and get the virtual reality set on, you know you’re in an insane asylum, and that this Katie, this patient, is loose and is going to do bad things to you. It’s wrong,” said Ron Thomas, a mental health advocate and the father of homeless man Kelly Thomas who had schizophrenia and died in a confrontation with Fullerton police in 2011, according to KABC.

“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 demonize them. Not to continue the stigma of mental illness.”

Kay Warren, the wife of pastor and author Rick Warren who lost his son to mental illness, also spoke out about the amusement park located in Buena Park, California. She took to social media, calling for the park to take down the attraction.

“It is never our intent to be disrespectful to any individual or group,” park officials said in a statement issued Thursday, according to The Orange County Register. “The virtual reality experience is actually built around paranormal, zombie-like activity in a medical hospital setting…Part of the confusion stems from the use of the code 5150 in the experience’s original name. For that reason, the name has been changed to FearVR.”

According to KABC, Cedar Fair — the company that owns Knott’s Berry Farm — has also shut down the attraction at two of its other theme parks in the aftermath of the backlash.

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A Knott's Berry Farm Halloween ride has been shut down because of complaints that it was offensive and insensitive to mental health patients.
knotts berry farm, halloween, ride, mental health
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2016-23-29
Thursday, 29 Sep 2016 09:23 AM
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