Scream Town owner faces backlash over Facebook post singling out Somalis

- The owner of Scream Town in Chaska, Minnesota is backtracking after he told employees to have a "zero tolerance policy with Somalis."

Now, the owner of the popular Halloween attraction Scream Town in Chaska is facing backlash.

“I’m embarrassed. It was poorly written,” owner Matt Dunn said.

For 11 years, Dunn has been generating nightmares for thousands of customers who want to be frightened. But over the weekend, Dunn said he grew frustrated with the actions of some guests and wrote a private Facebook post to his staff reminding them of the standards for acceptable behavior.

His post specifically singled out Somalis: “We are having a zero tolerance policy with Somalis. (other guests, you make your best judgment call), but absolutely zero tolerance with Somalis.”

The post was later shared on multiple social media platforms where it generated outrage, including in the local Somali immigrant community where activist Omar Jamal reports members were advised to stay away from Scream Town.

“That level of hatred does not belong in this country – it’s not the America we know, not the American way. This is hatred, bigotry, racism,” he said.

Dunn, for his part, owned the post.

“It was singling out a small group of people; it was not an all-people situation…poorly written, of course - wouldn’t do it again. I certainly apologize to those people who take it that way and are offended,” Dunn said.

Dunn said it was meant to apply to a group of eight to 10 repeat customers who he described as possibly ruining the experience for other guests if not checked and promised he welcomes visitors from every community to visit Scream Town. 

“We don’t want anybody leaving Scream Town and saying, ‘boy I didn’t like the fact that somebody was using inappropriate language or cut in front of us in line.’ That’s a bubble-popper. But unfortunately, it was poorly written.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota, Jaylani Hussein, is calling for an investigation.

“We urge the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to investigate the clear violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act by this discriminatory business policy targeting an ethnic and religious minority,” Jaylani Hussein said.

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