Victims' Families Don't Appreciate Theater Invitation

Cinemark invitationThe Century Aurora theater in Colorado, where 12 people were killed and 58 injured, reopened a few months after the horrific shooting incident. To encourage people to return, the theater sent invitations to the victims' families for a "special evening of remembrance," with a movie showing.

The families didn't appreciate the gesture. In a letter to the theater company, they called the invitation "disgusting" and "wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones." Coming just two days after Christmas, the invitation stung even worse for some families.

To the Management of Cinemark USA, Inc.:

During the holiday we didn't think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred.Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful.

You (Cinemark) has shown, and continues to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in their theater. You, Cinemark, have never once reached out to the families to offer condolences.

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.

Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn't care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.

You (Cinemark) refused our repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved. Instead, we get invited to attend a "special evening of remembrance" at the very theater where our loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours. We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night out of our minds' eye. Thank you for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish.

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.

After reading our response to your ridiculously offensive invitation, you now know why we will not be attending your re-opening 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.

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Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the theater's invitation: a nice gesture, an insensitive ploy to recoup revenue, or something else?
  • What could have been a better approach for the theater?
  • How well does the families' letter express their perspective? What suggestions, if any, do you have for a revision?
  • In the families' letter, they say that the theater has refused to meet with them. How, if at all, does this influence your perspective of the invitation?