Scream Town, a Halloween-themed park outside of Chaska, Minn., is backtracking after sending their employees a scarily idiotic (and highly racist, and likely, highly illegal) missive banning Somalis from the establishment.
According to the Star Tribune, the post was written by Scream Town owner Matt Dunn and shared to a private Facebook group for the theme park’s actors. The post explicitly singled out a “zero-tolerance” policy for allowing Somalis onto the 30-acre park.
“Note that we are having a zero tolerance policy with Somalis. (Other guests, you make your best judgement call) But absolutely zero tolerance with Somalis,” the post read, according to City Pages. “Your diligence in this matter is crucial.”
City Pages writes that the racist email was sent Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, after news of the message got out, Dunn took to Facebook to dole out a half-hearted apology for “any posts that were generalizing,” adding that doing so was not “their intent.” The company also tried to explain where it was coming from when it issued an all-out ban on Somalis.
“We had an incident with select group of about 8-10 individuals last Saturday night that had been at our event earlier this year. They were removed from the event due to their actions. Our post was regarding these 8-10 people who were disrupting other guests and staff,” the post read.
“We are deeply sorry how the message was written. We love our Somali customers,” Dunn, writing for the Scream Town account wrote.
Dunn told the Star Tribune that his original post was “a poorly written message that came off as being extraordinarily broad,” Dunn said.
“It wasn’t a message to all Somali folks. This was a terrible misunderstanding,” he added.
Of course, this doesn’t answer why the company thought the best way to ban a small group of people was to ban an entire nationality. Nor does it get into how such a ban would be implemented: presumably, by racial profiling—the very definition of “generalizing” a population.
According to a 2015 CNN article, of the 150,000 Somalis who live in the United States, more live in Minnesota than in any other state. Experts cite the ready availability of jobs as a major pull factor, as well as the state’s history of welcoming refugees.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations isn’t buying Dunn’s “misunderstanding,” calling Dunn’s post a “discriminatory business policy targeting an ethnic and religious minority.” The Star Tribune reports the group has asked the state’s Department of Human rights to look into the matter.