Dear Mr. Peter Ricker,
First off, before I even fully get into this letter, let me assure you and the readers that come across this letter, that I don't condone violence to anyone in general -- man, woman, child, animal -- none. Nunca. ZERO.
An organized sport like UFC or boxing, or a television show or movie with a fight scene between two men or two women is one thing, because that's written into a script or, as mentioned, an organized sport with participation from both parties agreed upon.
It's not a situation where someone has too much alcohol at a bar, misinterprets situations or has their ego take over and feel the need to puff out their chest and be the toughest person in the room, or a situation where the same thing happens while sober.
Recently, your business, Wallingford's Fruit House in Auburn, Maine, has made the news because of controversy with one of the depictions during your usually beloved annual haunted house attraction, "Nightmare on the Ridge."
At one point, your haunt showed a female mannequin sawed in half, and that was apparently something that some customers had issues with. The complaints registered feel as though it depicts violence against women -- obviously, complaints that need to be taken seriously and taken into meaningful consideration.
Your response, which is understandable, was to completely eliminate that section of the attraction, and post warning signs that the haunt, in general, may not be suitable for children, and leave it up to parents to make the decision. That should be the case, anyway, honestly.
But that said, and I understand you removed that section because at the end of the day, it was what was best for business, but also at the same time, what do people expect to see at a haunt? A haunted house is meant for entertainment and horror purposes, not political statements -- hell, we go to businesses like haunted houses for the sole purpose of escaping reality and the suck of the world.
Again, I fully understand this is such a sensitive topic, and again, no one should abuse anyone at the end of the day, but when do we stop blurring the line and jumping to the ultimate of negative conclusions, like a scene from a haunted house that is simply that, just a scene from a haunted house.
Because it's assumptions and accusations like the ones made about this particular scene that can ruin innocent lives. Not to mention, you yourself, Mr. Ricker, even said that the attraction has been set up the exact same way for as long as you can remember, so it's not like this is something randomly brand new.
Do we now start eliminating certain representations from haunted houses now? No more ghosts, ghouls, demons, or zombies of a certain gender or depiction because conclusions can be jumped to and assumptions can be made.
Do we go back and re-write scenes from popular horror movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, SAW, and the like that show certain genders confronting the main monster in the movie that brings on the character's unfortunate end?
This may seem snarky and sarcastic, but please understand that it's not. These are genuine questions I have, based on a local Mainer who, by all counts, is a good person and solid human being, just doing what he's done for years, providing another outlet of entertainment for customers from all over, every single Halloween season.
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