By Michael Mander
A petition against the Asylum maze with over 5500 signatures was handed to Thorpe Park today.
Campaigners who believe the Asylum maze stigmatizes mental illness have signed a petition for it to be renamed, rethemed or removed.
Katie Sutton, along with some of the petition signers, went into the park to hand over the petition today.
She said: “There were 6 people at the event, which was excellent turnout for the middle of the working day at short notice – I was dressed as a skeleton, and we also had a black cat, but the overwhelming scene was that of the “mental patient” – people who just came dressed as they do usually, to demonstrate that people with mental illnesses aren’t generally scary chainsaw-wielding maniacs!”
“Although we’d really like it if Thorpe Park opened tomorrow without Asylum, we realise that that probably won’t happen, so we’re asking them to not bring back Asylum for 2014”
Many of the AsylumNO campaigners, particularly Niall Boyce of the Lancet Psychiatry, would like a conference call with Thorpe Park, in order to discuss why people were offended by Asylum and how future mazes can prevent marginalisation.
Despite 5 emails and a telephone message, Thorpe Park have ignored these requests.
Sectioned, a prolific mental health Tweeter, has said of this refusal from Thorpe Park: “This demonstrates the depth of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems: indifference by a big name business to engaging with with us. From a PR perspective, Tp’s stance is jaw-droppingly comically bad.”
Thorpe Park have confirmed they will not be changing the name of the attraction this year, but have added that “we do take their concerns … seriously and will consider all the points raised when planning future events for 2014.”
Katie Sutton Tweeted that the petition was ‘graciously accepted’ by the Surrey theme park.