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Spooky or disrespectful? Cemetery movie night sparks outcry in North Carolina

A North Carolina cemetery canceled an upcoming movie night after people with loved ones buried there expressed concern.

Lafayette Memorial Park wanted to host the Halloween-themed screening on its grounds later this month, according to its Facebook page.

The cemetery was planning to dish out popcorn at the free, family event in Fayetteville. It was supposed to be in memory of owner Heather Bosher’s late grandparents, who often watched movies, reports ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

“We have a wonderful green space with plenty of room to hold such an event without infringing on any burial spaces,” according to a post on the cemetery’s Facebook page. “We have utilized it in the past with no objections.”

But this time, families complained.

Sam and Monica Simpson, whose relative is buried at the facility, don’t like the possibility of moviegoers showing disrespect at gravesites, ABC11 reports. They wanted Lafayette Memorial Park to put movie night funds toward facility upkeep, according to the station.

Before deciding to screen a film, the cemetery says it fielded suggestions about having a showing.

“Since there are several cemeteries nationwide that host such events with great popularity, we embraced the idea,” the Layfayette Memorial Park Facebook page says.

The cemetery says it created an online poll to gauge reactions and received more than 200 responses that were “overwhelmingly positive.” Another vote allowed people to choose which kid-friendly movie would appear on the big screen, according to a Facebook post.

When the event sparked outrage, officials said they were “surprised” and decided to scrap the idea.

“We are deeply sorry for any and all misunderstandings and we will continue to proceed with respect to all our families’ views,” according to the post.

Even after the apology, the cemetery was still experiencing blowback.

“The problem now is that the hate and negativity that is being spread even though we capitulated to the desired outcome of the family has crossed the line into EXTREMELY disrespectful comments and even death threats,” according to the cemetery’s Facebook comment, which didn’t name the people involved.

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