(JTA) — An Ohio venue set up as a haunted house for Halloween held a “Swastika Saturday” on the same day as the Pittsburgh synagogue attack.
The Haunted Hoochie in Pataskala, near Columbus in the southern part of the state, advertised Oct. 27 on Facebook as “Swastika Saturday.” Its owner, Tim May, described it in news reports as the last day of the official Halloween season, when the actors paint swastikas on themselves.
On Monday, May issued a statement on Facebook saying “we screwed up big time” and pledging to donate $50,000 to the synagogue, while extending condolences to families affected by the shooting. The statement has since been removed.
“The Haunted Hoochie is a place to escape the true evil in the world through the magic of Halloween theater – NOT perpetuate real evil,” the statement also said, Fox 8 reported.
“We will in no way tolerate any form of hatred on our grounds, from our staff, or from our guests,” May wrote, and “will not host any musical acts which perpetuate any kind of bigotry, intolerance, hate speech, anti-Semitism, or the like, now, or ever again.”
He also said that he was “working with community leaders to mend fences.”
At least one band, called Only Flesh, canceled its performance at the venue, saying in a Facebook post: “We do not condone or promote hate speech or racism in any way and cannot be associated with a place that promotes a “swastica saturday”. Sorry for anybody hoping to see us perform tonight but we must take a stand.”