A 31-year-old woman is speaking out about a "traumatizing experience" she had at Knott's Scary Farm in which she says costumed characters employed by the amusement park "bullied, harassed, [and] humiliated" her, and others, because of their weight, appearance, and sexuality.
The 4 of us, all plus size women were approached to take a photo in the entrance area. Of course there were a bunch of monsters standing around in this area. I asked one if he would take a picture with us, and verbatim he said "not with that hot mess, why don't you go wipe your eyebrows off". We were all pretty shocked and advised the camera girl we would not be taking a photo. I immediately knew this wasn't appropriate from an employee, so I proceeded to the window right of the entrance to inform the guy working. He pretty much just said oh well, and I should go online and write a letter. As we walked back toward ghost town, we passed the same "monster" a very tall thin male dressed as the wicked witch, with an all green face. I said "you are a jerk". Now there were people everywhere, and he walked past me, yelled at the top of his lungs "why don't you go back to Jenny Craig?" then the "monster" that is dressed as a hunch back pig came circling around me snorting.
Cramer says she also witnessed other people being treated cruelly by the park's employees, specifically a man who was also called a "fat hot mess" and called "the name of a popular drag queen," in some kind of implication about his sexuality.
Finally, she and her friends asked to speak with a manager. "He only said he would take care of it, didn't collect any of our information, and was very easy going about it," she wrote.
They decided to stay at the park, but were only further subjected to another round of harassment from "monsters." When Cramer said to one, "You are mean, leave me alone," he responded with, "We are paid to be mean."
As Cramer points out in her letter:
All of these incidents are clear examples of weight and disability discrimination. When did this become acceptable? When did knotts become a place of ridicule? People pay to get scared, not bullied. When did these employees start getting paid to harass people?
After her letter went public, support poured in from strangers who also say that they have been ridiculed about their weight and appearance by the "monsters."
Knott's Berry Far did not respond to Cramer until her story appeared in the media, when spokeswoman Jennifer Blazey issued the following statement:
We have received a copy of this letter and are investigating the situation. We do not condone this type of behavior by our employees and will be reaching out to the guest regarding this situation.
She also wanted to make it clear to CBS news that "the monsters are sarcastic characters." No apology was issued.
The annual event hosted by Knott's Berry Farm each October features a series of mazes, "scare zones," and 1000 seasonally employed "monsters" to interact with guests. The Green Witch, who allegedly made the "Jenny Craig" comment is one of the most famous—she's even mentioned in the brief description of the attraction on the park's official web site.