On Friday, July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside of a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. That very same theater is about to be re-opened, and, in order to mark the occasion, Cinemark CEO Tim Warner has offered the victims’ families to the special event.
According to NBC News, going to the re-opening of the same theater that their loved ones died in is the last thing the victims’ families want to do. In fact, they are calling it a “disgusting offer” and a “thinly veiled publicity ploy,” and some of the families are outraged that the theater chain’s owner would invite them to such an event.
According to an invitation letter, which was sent to Aurora Mayor Steve hogan, Warner offered free tickets to an event on January 17 for the reconfigured Aurora Century Theater. Warner has also defended himself, saying that the Aurora residents requested that the theater be restored.
Warner has even made arrangements for the families’ to visit before the reopening on January 15 and 16.
However, Warner didn’t expect that the families would react as they did.
In response to the invitation, a group of the invited families responded with a letter of their own.
“This disgusting offer that you’d ‘like to invite you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, January 17 at 5 PM’ followed by the showing of a movie and then telling us to be sure ‘to reserve our tickets’ is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.”
Sandy Phillips, mother of Jessica Ghaw, told the Denver Post:
“None of us received a letter of condolence or any other communication from Cinemark, but now they want us to step foot in that theater.”
The letter continued:
“We, the families, recognize your thinly veiled publicity ploy for what it is: A great opportunity for you to distance yourselves and divert public scrutiny from your culpability in this massacre.
According to the Washington Times, in the families’ response letter, the families faulted the company for sending the invitation two days after Christmas. By doing so, Cinemark made “what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything, and yours is awful.”
The response letter also said:
“After reading our response to your ridiculously offensive invitation, you now know why we will not be attending your reopening celebration and will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.”
As of now, Cinemark had no immediate comment on the letter.