Kings Island drops skeleton display
MASON – Kings Island has dropped a Halloween Haunt display showing skeletons of dead celebrities.
Don Helbig, Kings Island spokesman, spent a rainy Thursday helping to remove the scene of slain NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his dead mistress Sahel Kazemi, along with other skeletons made to look like dead celebrities, including Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson.
The skeletons were near The Beast rollercoaster and have been replaced with generic skeletons, Helbig said. "We weren’t intending for it to be distasteful and we do apologize if we offended anyone," he said.
Reaction to the McNair display was negative, particularly in Nashville, where McNair played most of his career and was killed on July 4. Police said that Kazemi shot McNair to death before killing herself.
The McNair skeleton wore a jersey numbered 9 and sat on a couch with a dress-wearing skeleton sprawled in its lap. A gun was on the ground, and the jersey-clad skeleton held a Tennessee Titans snack bowl.
George Plaster, a sports radio talk show host at 104.5-FM "The Zone" in Nashville, talked about the McNair skeleton on his Wednesday program.
Plaster said Thursday he was shocked when he heard about the display.
"I can’t imagine how anybody would get in a room, in a planning session, in what is a pretty tasteful theme park, and decide that’s OK and classy," he said. "Not one person said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s incredibly insensitive?’ I’m stunned at that."
Helbig said the park received a handful of complaints on the display, which has not yet opened to the public, and decided to shut it down.
The celebrity skeleton scene included a Sonny Bono skeleton tied face first to a tree and geared in ski equipment. Bono, a singer, actor and U.S. Congressman, died in 1998 as a result of a skiing accident after he hit a tree. A skeleton of Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams was stuffed in a glass-door freezer. Williams was cryogenically frozen after his 2002 death.
Preview photographs showed skeletons representing Jackson, Ledger, "Charlie’s Angels" actress Farrah Fawcett, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas and as-seen-on-TV product pitchman Billy Mays.
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island is scheduled to open Friday at 7 p.m.