A “Christian” haunted house that was to depict the Pulse nightclub massacre will no longer be held, as planned, at a Chicago public school.
The event, called The Room: A Journey to Hell, was the work of an independent production company, but the school, Fernwood Elementary, was initially listed as a cosponsor, Windy City Times reports. It was to be held this weekend.
“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,” Chicago Public Schools spokesman Michael Passman told Windy City Times Friday. “The event will not be held on CPS property.” Producer Tyrone Tappler, who identified himself as an ordained minister, tweeted that the event was canceled, or, as he said, “banned,” although the haunted house’s Eventbrite page is still up.
THE ROOM IS OFFICIALLY BANNED! As of Friday, 7:17pm. There will be no show. Sorry for the inconvenience. if you... https://t.co/2e1pz9zkK0
— Playwright Tyrone (@TyroneTappler) October 29, 2016
As long ago as August 31, however, Tyrone Tappler Productions advertised for volunteers to staff the “Christian interactive experience” and said it would include a depiction of the June mass shooting at the Orlando LGBT nightclub, which left 49 clubgoers and the gunman dead, and more than 50 wounded. It also was to include a portrayal of a botched abortion and the Charleston, S.C., church shooting, Windy City Times reports.
This information was included in a Facebook post, according to Windy City Times; the post now appears to be unavailable. The Eventbrite page described the event by saying, “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.” This makes the event appear similar to the “hell houses” once popular among fundamentalist Christian churches.
A person named Nat, who declined to be identified further, alerted Windy City Times after seeing a flyer for the event in a restaurant. “When I saw Pulse was mentioned, my head just about blew up,” Nat told the paper. “How could they depict that?”
It was particularly upsetting that the event was to be held in a public school, supported by tax dollars, Nat said, adding, “If you want to have a haunted house with that kind of thing in it, have at it. But don’t do it in a public school.”
Windy City Times and other media could not reach Tyrone Tappler Productions for comment.