The Aurora Movie Theater Invited Victim Families to Its Grand Re-opening (Really)

The Atlantic
The Aurora Movie Theater Invited Victim Families to Its Grand Re-opening (Really)
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The Aurora Movie Theater Invited Victim Families to Its Grand Re-opening (Really)

Cinemark, the company that owns the movie theater in Colorado where James Holmes went on a shooting rampage last July, apparently thought it was a good idea to invite the families of the Aurora victims to an "evening of remembrance" with free movie tickets when the mall cineplex re-opens on January 17. They were wrong. "The parents, grandparents, cousins and widow of nine of the 12 people killed released a letter sent to the theater's owner" calling it a "disgusting offer," reports the AP. Part of the reason the families are so disgusted is that they claim Cinemark has "refused to meet with them one-on-one without lawyers present." The families wrote:

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.

Good-faith efforts are never easy when the courts are involved: Cinemark is facing a lawsuit from survivors and relatives of the 12 people who died. In late November, Reuters's Robert Boczkiewicz reported that a federal judge consolidated seven lawsuits into one filing. "U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson also set May 5, 2014, as the earliest start date that any of the personal injury and wrongful death claims against Cinemark could proceed to trial," he reported. 

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Here's the full letter from the 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.

The Families of the Aurora Cinemark Theatre Massacre

Thomas Teves (father of Alex Teves)

Caren Teves (mother of Alex Teves)

Sandy Phillips (mother of Jessica Ghawi)

Lonnie Phillips (stepfather of Jessica Ghawi)

Jerri Jackson (mother of Matt McQuinn)

Greg Medek (father of Micayla Medek)

Rena Medek (mother of Micayla Medek)

Anita Busch (cousin of Greg and Micayla Medek)

Robert Wingo, (father of Rebecca Ann Wingo's two children)

Scott Larimer (father of John Larimer)

Kathleen Larimer (mother of John Larimer)

Jessica Watts (cousin of Jonathan Blunk)

Robert Sullivan (grandfather of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Sue Sullivan (grandmother of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Cassandra Sullivan (widow of Alex Sullivan)

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