ARCHDALE, N.C. -- The famously scary Kersey Valley Spookywoods claims to have sold a record number of advanced tickets, in the wake of controversy surrounding its billboard.
The billboard depicts a character from the horror attraction, and the photograph shows a young woman with barbed wire and fake blood on her face. Critics say the sign portrays violence against women and is too scary for children. Supporters say the image promotes the attraction's spookiness, and the woman in the image is a Spookywoods employee who wanted to do the ad.
Saturday, Spookywoods posted on its Facebook page, saying the ad was never intended to be 'political' and the attraction promotes American unity (through its USA- and bald eagle-themed corn maze). The post also claims "karma strikes again," because Spookywoods has sold more advanced tickets this year than ever.
The original billboard debate gained traction when a woman posted the following note on Spookywoods' Facebook page:
To Whom This May Concern,
I would like to express sincere concern regarding the Kersey Valley Billboard Images in Greensboro. I think these images are highly inappropriate for our children to see and should be removed immediately. I am extremely disappointed by the decision made by Kersey Valley to places these magnified graphic images across our city. I will not be attending Spooky Woods and will be communicating to others as well. Please remove these graphic billboards.
A citizen of Greensboro
The woman in the billboard is Sydney Parks, a Kersey Valley Employee.
"Just to assure everyone, I'm 21," Sydney says. "I'm not being abused or you know, forced to do anything."
Her character is a product of the Spookywoods Lab, run by Matt Patterson.
"She's not a victim, she's a protagonist in the show," he explains. "If you look at the way the makeup is done, she's snarling her face, she's in attack mode."
He says the barbed wire around her face is plastic and that the rest is makeup. It's a fictional character and the folks at Spookywoods say it's just the nature of the business.
"Unfortunately sometimes children will see it," Patterson explains. " But it's just advertising. Not everything that's advertised is aimed toward children."
He also adds they put it on the public to pick the image on the billboard. Their social media following voted on the image they went with.
"We are in the industry where we're meant to scare people."
The design was also approved by Fairway Outdoor Advertising before it went up on their billboards. A representative from the company says there aren't any sort of regulations when it comes to content; they view it as freedom of speech. They can deny a design if they feel that's necessary.
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