Mastermind of Willy Wonka Chocolate fiasco vows to ‘make this right’ after children left in tears

Great expectations failed to deliver at the Glasgow event  (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)
Great expectations failed to deliver at the Glasgow event (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

The mastermind behind the Willy Wonka chocolate experience fiasco has vowed to “make this right” after children were reduced to tears by the disastrous event.

Furious parents slammed organiser Billy Coulls after children hoping for a paradise of sweet treats were given just a few jelly beans and a quarter cup of lemonade.

Families turned up to find a sparse warehouse filled with strange characters in cheap costumes - including made-up villain ‘The Unknown’, who left children in tears.

Mr Coulls, described by actors as “out of his depth” on the frantic Saturday morning opening, promised to refund all 850 ticket purchases after police were called.

The Unknown terrifies children to tears (jzrxx33)
The Unknown terrifies children to tears (jzrxx33)

In the statement, released on House of Illuminati’s Facebook page, Mr Coulls said he was “truly sorry”.

He also denied using the money from ticket sales on a wedding, after a social media user who claimed to know him said he was using it to get married in Turkey.

He said: “I am reaching out to address the recent cancellation of the ‘Willys Chocolate Experience’ event.

“Firstly, I want to extend my sincerest apologies to each and every one of you who was looking forward to this event. I understand the disappointment and frustration this has caused, and for that, I am truly sorry.

“It’s important for me to clarify that the organisation and decisions surrounding this event were solely my responsibility.

“I want to make it clear that anyone who was hired externally or offered their help, are not affiliated with me or the company, any use of faces can cause serious harm to those who did not have any involvement in the making of this event.”

He added: “Regarding a personal matter, there will be no wedding, and no wedding was funded by the ticket sales. This is a difficult time for me, and I ask for your understanding and privacy.

Tragic reality of Willy’s Chocolate Experience (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)
Tragic reality of Willy’s Chocolate Experience (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

“Regarding the refunds, I am committed to rectifying this situation. All 850 Transactions will continue to be refunded. It has been posted to ensure transparency and to demonstrate my commitment to making this right for everyone affected.

“I ask for a bit of time to process everything that has happened. My intention is to learn from this experience. Your support and understanding during this time mean the world to me.”

The events company, which had promised a world of pure imagination, has since cancelled the show.

One parent who attended the event complained of arriving to find a “disorganised mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lacklustre candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears”.

Lured in by the promise of £500, Michael Archibald, 18, turned up to his first-ever acting gig expecting a professional role in a play.

He described to The Independent the open-plan changing rooms, paltry offerings of sweets and meagre decorations, including an AI-generated poster of a gingerbread house which barely covered a third of the venue’s wall.

He told The Independent: “Everything was described as a world of wonders and imagination, an immersive experience.

“But once I walked in to see that everything had still been getting set up, I felt like things were going to take a turn for the worst.

“There was a lot of dancing about with our contracts and mentions of pay felt flimsy.”

House of Illuminati’s Facebook page continues to promise refunds, and some customers say they have been sent their money back.