Far­magge­don ac­tor speaks out as po­lice drop probe

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY OLIVIA TOBIN

AN in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a Far­magge­don ac­tor who was dis­missed from his job over al­le­ga­tions of “in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour” has been dropped.

The ac­tor, Paul*, was work­ing at the Down­hol­land hor­ror at­trac­tion last year when his con­tract was sud­denly ter­mi­nated in Oc­to­ber.

It was al­leged at the time he had be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­wards a 15-year-old girl who had at­tended, with a widely-shared video ap­pear­ing to show him ap­proach the girl while in char­ac­ter.

Lan­cashire Po­lice launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged in­ci­dent but has since said no fur­ther ac­tion will be taken against the ac­tor.

A spokes­woman con­firmed: “Fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­le­ga­tions, we are now sat­is­fied that no crim­i­nal of­fences have oc­curred.

“The man will face no fur­ther ac­tion.

“All af­fected par­ties have been in­formed.”

Paul* - whose real name has not been used - says he is “in­no­cent” and has re­vealed how the al­le­ga­tions have im­pacted his life. He claims:

He was told to act out a char­ac­ter which was a mash-up be­tween the Child Snatcher and The Great­est Show­man

Co-work­ers never ques­tioned his act and said it was ‘good’ and fright­en­ing vis­i­tors, as in­tended

He found out he was dis­missed via Face­book

A code of con­duct on how to be­have with guests was cre­ated af­ter he was dis­missed

Far­magge­don was ap­proached by in re­la­tion to all of these claims, and did not re­spond.

Paul said: “I’m not a mon­ster, I’m not a pae­dophile, I’m not any of these things that were put out about me, I’m gen­uinely not.

“I’m not any [of the things] that I’ve been put out there to be.

“I was hit with the ar­row straight in and it was like the poi­son spread, it spread like wild­fire.”

Paul said he was hired to work at Far­magge­don and his role was to en­ter­tain and frighten peo­ple in the queue.

Far­magge­don de­scribes it­self as “one of the best scare at­trac­tions in the UK” and its en­ter­tain­ment is based around of­fer­ing cus­tomers a scary ex­pe­ri­ence.

Paul* claims: “Dur­ing train­ing a se­lect few peo­ple were picked out for what is called ‘Queue Line’.

“And dur­ing ‘Queue Line’ you’re out among the public and you en­ter­tain/scare them, and each char­ac­ter is dif­fer­ent.

“The out­fit I was given was rid­ing boots, leg­gings and a show man out­fit. I was told to base my char­ac­ter on The Child Snatcher, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the Great­est Show­man, so I was like a ring master.

“Dur­ing train­ing, I asked ap­pro­pri­ate ques­tions, like how close ex­actly can we get to guests, and one of the man­agers said ‘You can get close, but you aren’t al­lowed to touch them’.

“I said ‘How close is close’ and one of them got close to me and said ‘This close’, and I said ‘Al­right, that’s fine,’ if it’s a hor­ror at­trac­tion and the in­ten­tion is to scare peo­ple, I can do that.”

Paul said he based his char­ac­ter on hor­ror films and im­i­tated man­ner­isms such as “us­ing their tongue in a ser­pent-like man­ner”.

He said us­ing such tropes would elicit dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions from mem­bers of the public, with some laugh­ing, some walk­ing away and oth­ers be­ing scared.

Paul claims he was told by his man­agers his act­ing was “good” and “get­ting a good re­ac­tion”.

The ac­tor said it was these types of man­ner­isms he had been do­ing on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 18, when the in­ci­dent was said to have oc­curred.

Video footage was posted on so­cial me­dia of Paul, in char­ac­ter, as he ap­proached guests, some un­der­stood to be un­der-18.

A mum of one of the guests said she be­lieved the be­hav­iour was in­ap­pro­pri­ate to­wards the girls, which prompted ou­trage on so­cial me­dia.

Paul said he be­lieves the at­trac­tion should “not be for any­one un­der 18-years-old” and made par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to some of the out­fits worn and parts of the at­trac­tion, in­clud­ing “the meat locker”.

He said: “Just look­ing on the web­site, it’s not for the faint hearted and it’s an in­tense hor­ror at­trac­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to Far­magge­don’s web­site, at the time, vis­i­tors needed to be 15-years-old and had to pro­vide ID on en­try.

In Paul’s claims he added: “These three girls said to me ‘can I scare their friend.’

“I’m a method ac­tor and that some­times in­volves be­com­ing the char­ac­ter.

“So I went over to the friend and I used the wooden bar­rier, I went to lift my leg up on the bar­rier and that is some­thing I was do­ing with so many guests, be­cause it creeped them out.

“I started scar­ing this girl and her friends in the video are laugh­ing and her friend was get­ting scared and turn­ing away.

“The rea­son I was hold­ing on to the bar­rier at the time was to make sure I didn’t fall over, and to bal­ance my­self.”

Paul said to­wards the end of the even­ing a man­ager pulled him to one side and showed him a video, which was cir­cu­lat­ing on­line.

He claimed he was told to leave the site im­me­di­ately, de­spite protest­ing adamantly he had not touched the girl in ques­tion.

Af­ter he was sent home, he claimed he was told man­agers would be in touch as to what ac­tion would be taken.

But Paul claims a few days later he saw a Face­book post which stated an ac­tor had been dis­missed with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Paul claims he protested to man­agers and was adamant he “hadn’t touched any­one.”

How­ever the post on so­cial me­dia gained a lot of at­ten­tion and Paul said it was not long un­til he was re­ceiv­ing death threats.

He said: “Some peo­ple were say­ing ‘who’s he, we need to kill him, we need to go round his yard [house] and kill him.’”

Paul claims he was scared to leave his home and his men­tal state got to a des­per­ate point, af­ter be­ing ques­tioned by of­fi­cers.

He said: “When I went to the in­ter­view, I said I’m in­no­cent, com­pletely.”

All al­le­ga­tions have since been dropped by the force.

Paul, who claims he has been un­able to con­tact his former man­agers, said he now wants a public apol­ogy from at­trac­tion bosses, and des­per­ately wants to ex­press his in­no­cence.

He’s also ex­pressed con­cern about how quickly ru­mours can spread on so­cial me­dia, and the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect it can have on an in­di­vid­ual.

He said: “I want an apol­ogy from Far­magge­don and I want it em­pha­sised that I am in­no­cent.

Far­maged­don was ap­proached for com­ment on all claims raised in this ar­ti­cle and did not re­spond ahead of pub­li­ca­tion.

*Paul is not the ac­tor’s real name.

The ac­tor worked at Far­magge­don last year

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