A haunted house event planned in Chicago was canceled after it emerged one of the scenes it would portray was the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.
The Chicago Public Schools initially agreed to allow the event to take place at Fernwood Elementary School on the evenings of Oct. 29 and 30, the Windy City Times reported.
But Michael Passman, a CPS spokesman, explained the school district was surprised to hear of the details being advertised for “The Room: A Journey to Hell.”
“The event organizers mischaracterized the true content of the event, and we did not approve any association with the activities the organizers have now advertised,” Passman said on Oct. 28.
An online call for volunteers appealed for “Club Pulse dancers, victims…CAGED PEOPLE/SCREAMERS, Extras needed trying to escape a cage! Sounds interesting? COME OUT THIS SATURDAY!!!”
On June 12, Omar Mateen killed 49 people in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In a separate posting about the event, organizer Tyrone Tappler Productions wrote that The Room “is a real life haunted house. Guests will experience IN YOUR FACE scenes of dark reality. You will walk in 10 rooms and encounter individuals who will make choices. The choice is life or death; sin or salvation; heaven or hell. The scenes will be action-packed, real and jaw-dropping.”
Members of the public were angered by the content planned. As well as the Pulse nightclub shooting, other rooms were to have depicted a botched abortion and the 2015 shooting in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I went in for some dinner, and promptly lost my appetite when I saw that,” said Nat, who saw a flyer for The Room at a restaurant.
Nat said the thing that annoyed them most was that the massacres being portrayed were presented as resulting from moral choices.
“If you want to have a haunted house with that kind of thing in it, have at it,” Nat added. “But don’t do it in a public school.”
Event organizer Tyrone Tappler said in an online bio that he is a licensed minister, according to The Huffington Post.
Responding to criticism in a tweet, Tappler wrote that he was a “trailblazer.”