The Kings Dominion amusement park has decided to drop the “Miner’s Revenge” maze from its “Halloween Haunt” lineup after an outcry that it was insensitive to coal miners.
This heartening response, I’m glad to see, came after my op-ed drawing attention to the topic was posted on the Post’s Web site on Friday. (It also appeared on the Local Opinions page in Sunday’s paper.)
According to NPR, Kings Dominion decided to discontinue the maze, which featured garish representations of injured coal miners “as part of its regular rotation,” according to company spokesman Gene Petriello.
“Kings Dominion does not intend to operate the ‘Miner’s Revenge’ Halloween attraction next year,” Petriello said.
The maze affected me personally since I spent a long time in 2011 and 2012 researching a book dealing with the Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 miners on April 5, 2010.
Once the Kings Dominion maze was contrasted against the horror of real-life mine disasters, the criticism was swift. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said, “It’s just beyond my understanding and comprehension that anybody could stoop that low for the all-mighty dollar; it’s unbelievable.”
On Saturday night, I was in Charleston, W.Va., watching the premier of an unfinished new documentary titled “Blood on the Mountain” about coal culture, mine deaths and mountaintop removal destruction. It is due for release next spring.
Afterward, I shared a beer with a retired coal miner and told him about the Kings Dominion Halloween amusement. He stared at me and asked, “What?”