Slender Man, the film adaptation of a spooky meme lurking the internet since 2009, has been under fire since its announcement. That’s because the character reportedly led two Wisconsin girls to stab their classmate in a vicious assault.
Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser told police that Slender Man needed them to kill classmate Payton Leutner in order to prove their worth and protect their families. In 2014 Geyser attacked Leutner in a wooded Waukesha, Wisconsin, park while Weier egged her on. Leutner escaped and survived, while her assailants have both pleaded guilty and face decades in mental hospitals. While the film is not inspired by these events, it still uses the character at its heart — something that a Wisconsin theater chain finds troubling.
According to IGN, The Marcus Corporation, which owns a prominent Midwestern movie theater chain, announced that they will not screen the film in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties due to their proximity to the real-life crime.
The company’s official statement reads:
"Like many people across the United States, Marcus Theatres was deeply concerned and saddened when the Slender Man phenomenon touched Southeastern Wisconsin in such a profound way, changing the lives of many families forever. After careful consideration, and out of respect for those who were impacted, we have decided not to play the upcoming Slender Man movie in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. We will show the film at select other Marcus Theatres locations."
Though, with early reviews rolling in, it doesn't seem like those locations will offer much for film fans either. Bill Weier, Annisa's father, has been a vocal opponent of the film’s release since its beginning — and this decision aims at addressing some of his concerns for the community.
Slender Man is arriving in theaters elsewhere in the nation tomorrow, Aug. 10.