October 09, 2019
A Chernobyl-themed escape room set to launch in London has been branded “very bad taste” by a charity helping those affected by the disaster. 
Chernobyl-Themed Escaped Room Launching In London Slammed As Very Bad Taste
Tickets have gone on sale for the escape room Chernobyl: 10 Seconds To Midnight, but Linda Walker, executive director at the Chernobyl Children’s Project UK, a charity dedicated to helping those affected by one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, has called the concept “nonsense”.
On 26 April 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, causing the deaths of at least 31 people in the immediate aftermath.
The UN estimates that as many as 4,000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure as a result of the explosion. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, with some unable to return more than 30 years later – around 200,0000 people are believed to have been relocated. 
“This is in very bad taste, and seems to me to be a complete nonsense anyway,” Walker told HuffPost UK of the escape room, which has been created by the London-based team at The Riddle Within. “You can escape from a prison but you can’t escape from a nuclear disaster in the same way.” The Chernobyl Children’s Project works with babies born with genetic disorders and children with cancer who live in Belarus, which neighbours Ukraine. 
“Chernobyl was the world’s worst nuclear disaster, has damaged the lives of tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of people and will continue to blight future generations,” said Walker, who added that the only to escape nuclear disaster “is to stop building new nuclear power stations, de-commission the old ones and move urgently towards nuclear disarmament”.  
The Chernobyl: 10 Seconds To Midnight concept, due to launch at Greenwich Peninsula in London, is not the first escape room to use Chernobyl as its core theme, with similar rooms previously launched in Greece, Germany and the US. 
The Riddle Within’s director, Dan Perrin, told HuffPost UK he does not think the new escape room is offensive. “We personally don’t think that an escape room based loosely on a historical event, as the very popular HBO TV drama series is, will offend many people in London, unless they’re the type of person who wants to find things to be offended by,” he said. “Obviously we have sympathy for anyone who was directly affected by the disaster in the same way we have sympathy for anyone who died in WW2 or Vietnam, but do we really want to live in a world where all entertainment is so heavily sanitised and cannot ever be based on real events or a hypothetically real situation for risk of offending people?” said Perrin.
“I don’t and clearly neither do the thousands of people that have already bought tickets for our Chernobyl Escape Rooms.” 
Walker’s comments comes after the writer and producer of HBO’s Chernobyl asked tourists to show respect for “all who suffered and sacrificed” as a result of the 1986 disaster, after the hit series prompted a rise in tourism to the area.
Craig Mazin addressed photographs being on social media platforms, which show visitors posing for selfies and using relics of the disaster as props. 
In one particular photo a woman is seen posing in a hazmat suit, undone to reveal she is wearing only a thong underneath.“If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there,” Mazin tweeted. “Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”READ MORE: This Astonishing Dome Will Protect Us From Chernobyl For The Next 100 Years HBO Chernobyl Writer Urges Tourists To 'Show Respect' After Selfies Posted From Nuclear Site TV Drama Chernobyl Is Being Remade By A Russian Broadcaster
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