In Wake of Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, Haunted Hoochie Apologizes for Hosting “Swastika Saturday”
After a weekend that saw the fatal shooting of 11 people of Jewish faith attending a synagogue in Pittsburgh, owners of Haunted Hoochie in Pataskala are apologizing to followers and fans for hosting a swastika-themed night in the hours after news of the mass shooting broke.
“We screwed up big time,” they wrote in a Facebook post early Monday morning. “On behalf of the entire Haunted Hoochie staff, we first and foremost extend our sincerest condolences to the families affected by the tragedy in Pittsburgh, and the Jewish communities of the area.”
The controversy started around 7 p.m. on Saturday, when the business commented on Facebook, “git in free with a haunted hoochie or dead acres logo tattoo for swastika Saturday including all kinds freaky fun including only flesh live on stage ..hell yeah.”
A firestorm immediately erupted on Facebook, and Haunted Hoochie originally defended the event vehemently, reminding people that it’s an event they’ve hosted for the past 28 years.
“Trust that we support unity,” they commented, “and hate the division that is being created in this country.”
Only Flesh, an industrial metal band based in Pittsburgh, was scheduled to perform on Saturday, Oct. 27. But, at 10:30 p.m. that night, they announced the cancellation of their show, posting on Facebook that, “We do not condone or promote hate speech or racism in any way and cannot be associated with a place that promotes a “swastica saturday”. Sorry for anybody hoping to see us perform tonight but we must take a stand.”
Haunted Hoochie went through with Swastika Saturday as scheduled, but began backpedaling on Sunday.
“Please let us make on thing clear and apologize right now for any insensitivity on our part,” reads a post on Sunday evening. “We show you the darkest, sickest, depraved parts of the world we all live in. We definitely aren’t nazi’s.”
“Its a haunted house, its all about the horrors we face here on earth,” the post continued. “We also don’t condone murder, torture, suicide by shotgun, or birth by sledge hammer. We are here to shock and awe and terrify. It does make us sad that this country is being divided against and killing each other. Don’t fall for the illusion that one race/ religion is better than another.”
It wasn’t until 4 a.m. on Monday that Haunted Hoochie formally apologized and announced that they would never again host a Swastika Saturday.
“We will in no way tolerate any form of hatred on our grounds, from our staff, or from our guests. This means that certain costumes or themes may be deemed inappropriate and you will be denied admission or asked to leave the grounds,” the post reads.
They ended their apology with a pledge to support the victims of Saturday’s shooting with a $50,000 donation to the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where the shooting occurred.
As reported by CNN late Sunday evening, federal prosecutors have officially filed hate crime charges against a Pennsylvania man who entered the Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire, killing 11 people. Their ages range from 54 to 97 years old, and have been identified by multiple news sources as follows: Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, ages 59 and 54; spouses Bernice and Sylvan Simon, ages 84 and 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.
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