Actor calls 13-year-old girls "whores" at Universal Hollywood, according to cell phone video

Posted Thursday, October 23, 2014 9:29 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Two 13-year-old girls say they were called an inappropriate name by a character at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. The incident was caught on camera. Roxy Fisher and her friend Kayla Beals went with a group to Halloween Horror Nights on Sept. 26 to have some fun. But instead, they say they felt embarrassed by what the character said.

Read more and see video from KABC/LA.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:20 PM

Jeff said:
I'm not even sure it's about the warning, which is frankly ambiguous at best because saying something has a "mature theme" doesn't really say anything.

To me, there's not much ambiguity about "extremely adult material". That is quite different, in my opinion, from "mature theme". And as a parent the more strenuous warning would certainly give me pause if I thought my daughter wasn't mature enough to handle "extremely adult material". So I think the warning and context of the event are absolutely germane.

And believe it or not, there actually are contexts where calling a woman "whore" is appropriate - some women actively seek out such experiences. In that context, it's not misogynistic anymore than a guy looking for some dominatrix to stomp on his balls would be considered assault.


Brandon | Facebook

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:30 PM
Jeff's avatar

That's a total strawman argument. I've been with women who want to be called names and have their hair pulled, sure. They're not a majority, and there's usually a fairly explicit agreement for those kinds of situations. Listen to the leap you're making: "Some women like to be called whores, so it's OK to call a couple of 13-year-olds whores."

Again, if all you've got is "the warning," you're not going to ever convince me that what happened was OK. Misogyny in observable fiction is one thing, but it's something completely different in real life and with kids involved.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:46 PM

Jeff said:

Listen to the leap you're making: "Some women like to be called whores, so it's OK to call a couple of 13-year-olds whores."

What was that you were saying about straw men? ;-)

That's not what I'm saying at all. You've been banging the drum of "it's never OK to call women whores in any context, even if there's a rather strenuous agreed-to warning about the content of the entertainment they're about to consume". I'm simply pointing out that not every utterance of "whore" is misogynistic. As Gonch has said, intent is relevant.

...and there's usually a fairly explicit agreement for those kinds of situations.

You mean like a content warning? :-)

If the performer and consumer of some form of entertainment enter into an agreement (read: warning) about the content of that entertainment, that precludes demonizing the content as unacceptable. You may not like it, but you don't get to speak for others.

Misogyny in observable fiction is one thing, but it's something completely different in real life and with kids involved.

What about theater? That's fiction, yet performed in "real life" (very much like a haunt). If an actor addresses the audience and calls them whores, assuming the appropriate content warnings were conveyed, is that still misogyny? It seems you're presuming an awful lot about the situation.

Last edited by djDaemon, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:47 PM

Brandon | Facebook

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:07 PM
Jeff's avatar

djDaemon said:
I'm simply pointing out that not every utterance of "whore" is misogynistic.

Are you not making the case that such an exception makes it OK to call 13-year-olds whores? If not, then what's your point? Making the case for exceptions isn't making the case for this instance.

And please... the "warning" itself is far from explicit. If it says "not recommended for under 13" and "mature," what does that even mean? Seems to me those two terms are completely at odds. Did I mention the warning doesn't matter if you find calling 13-year-olds whores indefensible?

What theater involves calling audience members names? I've been to a lot of shows, and aside from the action being performed live in front of me, it's no different than a film. I'm sure you can find examples of "insult theater," and so goes another exception that is outside of the broader social contracts we expect.

Seriously, you can come up with exceptions all day, and whether or not you find them defensible. They don't change my opinion that you don't call 13-year-olds whores. I feel like I've said that once or a hundred times.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:13 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

NPH would often get on the audience in Hedwig.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20808664,00.html

Without breaking character, he responded: "I'm doing something up here, motherf-----."

But Harris's unscripted words were meant to entertain – not offend.

"It was all done in good fun and fully in the context of the show," a rep for Harris tells Gossip Cop. "The audience went crazy, and it really was a light-hearted moment."


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:21 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I just can't cross the line between buying a ticket to a specific type of experience -- a Lisa Lampanelli concert, or The Basement -- and buying a ticket to a theme park that grants access to all of the attractions inside the park. With the one, you know exactly what you (or your child) is getting. With the other, you don't. I just think that an entertainment venue allowing children to enter should stay away from some things. Calling people sluts or whores would be included in those, in my mind.

That said... these girls were clearly comfortable with what was happening, since they didn't leave the area after initially being singled out. I don't have much sympathy for them or their mothers.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:28 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

But someone buying a ticket to Hedwig knows -- or should know -- what type of show they've bought a ticket for. If you order a steak, you don't get to complain when you're served a steak. You do get to complain if you're served a pork chop.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 3:03 PM

Does anyone mind the scenario IF this were an "18 and over" event...with warnings, etc?

Seems to me that the practical outcome will be that Universal will either raise the age limit OR self-censor the content.

I believe Universal is 100% within their right to perform their art as desired. I also believe their warnings were sufficient ethically. I think the kids/parents are attention "whores" in this case.

I also believe this was a poor public relations/operational decision. Allowing 13 year olds into areas where that type of language and subject matter was being performed...was begging for trouble.

As much as we all would like to assume parents will be responsible, etc...the fact is many won't. Universal is not responsible for changing society, but you would think they might be a little more in tune...

Last edited by Aamilj, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 3:05 PM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 3:41 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I agree that "extremely adult material" and "not recommended for children under 13" is a little confusing. So, how bad is this "extremely adult material" if your recommended age limit is only 13? Based on that warning, I think a reasonable person could imagine what might be on display and agree to experience it only to be completely taken aback at being called a whore. To put it another way, I don't think it's unreasonable to be surprised by being singled out and called a derogatory name when you're attending a theme park haunt, where all of your past experience and common sense tells you that you're basically going to walk around and observe exhibits. If a park's attraction goes beyond that, then the warning or disclaimer has to be more specific.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 4:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Bakeman31092 said:

I agree that "extremely adult material" and "not recommended for children under 13" is a little confusing. So, how bad is this "extremely adult material" if your recommended age limit is only 13?

I dunno. I see it like movie ratings. Just because a movie is rated PG-13 doesn't mean it's ok for every kid 13 or older. You still have to make the judgment call as a parent.

They're telling you it's definitely not for kids under 13 and that in attending they will be exposed to extremely adult material.

Really, that's not ambiguous or vague in the least. It's a pretty good guideline for a parent to decide.

Then when you see that the houses include attractions based on The Purge: Anarchy, From Dusk Til Dawn, American Werewolf In London - All R-Rated Movies - you should have a pretty good idea of whether you want your child interacting in that kind of environment.

How detailed does the description really have to be? It's entertainment best left to mature teens (probably/possibly under adult supervision) and adults.

Seems perfectly clear to me.

(and yes, using words like "whore" to interact with the audience falls under that umbrella in my eyes)

And again - all of this ignores that there hasn't been a signle other reported incedent during the HHN event. Every single person attended sold out night after sold out night has been reasonably ok with what they found at the event. These girls are the lone, whining exception.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 4:48 PM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 5:00 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

I can't argue with your last point, but I'm glad you brought up movie ratings because I think that goes to my point about experience and common sense. Movie ratings are for the most part complete garbage, full of hypocrisy and inconsistency. My dad took me to see Jurassic Park four times in the summer when it came out. It's rated PG-13 and I was eight going on nine. So according to the rating, it wasn't a good idea for me to see it, except that I was the exact target audience and I was obsessed with it. Then you have great movies that are perfectly appropriate for teenagers that are rated R because of two or three f-bombs. When you encounter this kind of inconsistency and general nonsense, it's understandable why a generic warning at a theme park may not get taken seriously.

Last edited by Bakeman31092, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 5:02 PM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 5:01 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Don't blame the girls. The whiners in this case are the mothers who made a few half-hearted attempts to communicate with the park before dialing up Gloria Allred.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 5:49 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

slithernoggin said:

But someone buying a ticket to Hedwig knows -- or should know -- what type of show they've bought a ticket for.

Well, I posted the Hedwig example in response to Jeff's post about being unfamiliar with interactive theatre.

The bonus is that it's sort of the same thing as HHN - interaction that would be totally inappropriate in 'normal' social settings, but is understood as harmless performance in the context of the show.

As far as the point you assigned to it - well, that seems to be the spot of contention now. Customer expectations.

Just for the record, here's the warning when buying Hedwig tickets:

"May be inappropriate for 12 and under. (Hedwig and the Angry Inch is recommended for mature audiences – for strong language and adult themes.)"

Doesn't really say that any of the actors is going to call you a mother****er, but you know, I still argue that it's covered under the language of the warning.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:05 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

And I don't disagree with that, when I have my "logical" hat on. (It's a very nice hat, with a pink feather.) But I find it's easier to get along with neuro-typical folks when I take that hat off and pretend to have empathy.

I just can't bring myself to step over the line that I see between "I'm selling you a ticket to watch a transsexual rock singer who is known to spit on and otherwise interact with audience members" and "I'm selling you a ticket into this park where you may want to score repeat rides on Despicable Me or you may want to score repeat walk-throughs of The Purge: Anarchy."

To me, there's a difference between admission to a specific type of event, and to a gated area offering a variety of events. If Uni was selling tickets to the park, and then selling individual tickets to each haunt, I'd have zero sympathy for anyone making this type of complaint.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:09 PM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:36 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
These girls are the lone, whining exception.

Or their mother is.

Face it, Mom failed in her parenting duties, and is now making a fuss.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:37 PM

slithernoggin said:

To me, there's a difference between admission to a specific type of event, and to a gated area offering a variety of events. If Uni was selling tickets to the park, and then selling individual tickets to each haunt, I'd have zero sympathy for anyone making this type of complaint.

When the ad for this event has imagery that would make Iron Maiden albums look tame, you should know what you're getting into. Your analogy doesn't work (as I read it).

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:40 PM

Even if you stipulated that Universal has done absolutely nothing wrong legally, morally, ethically, etc...they still misread the business climate. Much as "customer expectations" were misaligned for these girls and their experience...Universal's "business expectations" were (most likely) out of line too.

The Gloria Allred's of the world keep their fame by exploiting businesses who make mistakes, however innocent, like allowing 13 year old girls to be in an atmosphere where the word "whore" is verbalized. This whole event is a softball toss to the master of the press conference. And lets face it...what is said in the press conference becomes perception THEN reality.

Although not provable, with available reporting, it would not shock me in the least if we were to find out this whole thing was set up.

It just seems a little too coincidental that the only known offended have such quick access to, and the shamelessness to utilize Gloria Allred over this .

Last edited by Aamilj, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:51 PM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:49 PM

But did Universal actually misread the business climate? At this point, we know that two girls and/or their moms complained about one thing that was said to the girls. But how many other people went through that haunt (and other haunts too) being happy with the experience? How likely is it that the actor in question only called these 2 girls whores that night or ever? Seems to me pretty unlikely.

If you are pushing the envelope (which from what I have seen Universal tends to do with its haunts), I think you expect to have at least a few people who think you went too far. Otherwise, seems to me you will think that you didn't go far enough.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:53 PM

That is a good argument GoBucks. Perhaps Universal either expects some bad press, or doesn't care...

Historically, Gloria Allred is an effective demonizer though...

Last edited by Aamilj, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:55 PM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 7:01 PM

I think Gloria has lost a lot of her bite and now tends to be more bark. And a big part of that results from not selecting cases of significance but instead taking up causes of people who spend their lives looking for things that offend them. Do that too often and you lose relevance.

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