by Joe Kleiman, IPM News Editor
Universal City, CA, USA (October 24, 2013) — Universal Studios Hollywood has canceled their Bill & Ted show for the remainder of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. The event’s website states, “After thoughtful consideration, Universal Studios Hollywood has made the decision to discontinue production of the Halloween Horror Nights’ “Bill & Ted” show for the remainder of its limited run. ”
Although the park has not disclosed the exact reason for the closure, an October 17 blog entry on the Vice magazine website calling the show “homophobic” and “racist” was cited by national media, including the Huffington Post and The Advocate. The Advocate article, published October 21, quoted an emailed statement from park spokesperson Audrey Eig: “[Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure] appears during ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ in limited run and is specifically intended to be shocking and satirical in tone, focusing on adult themes . . . The show lampoons across all areas of our culture and it was not our intention to offend or upset anyone. We know there are a range of opinions on this issue and we will respect them as we consistently review and refine the show’s content.”
On October 22, advocacy group GLAAD announced that it “has a long standing relationship with NBCUniversal, and is working with them on this issue.” On October 23, the date of the show’s cancellation, GLAAD National Spokesperson Wilson Cruz said in a prepared statement: “NBCUniversal has taken quick and strong action regarding this matter and also started a productive dialogue around future ‘Bill & Ted’ programming to ensure that all park visitors can have an enjoyable experience. This decision falls in line with NBCUniversal’s history of including groundbreaking and positive depictions of LGBT people across its brands.”
Universal Orlando representatives have confirmed that the Bill & Ted show at that resort’s Halloween Horror Nights follows a different script and will continue to be performed.