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Willy Wonka event organizer says backlash 'ruined' his life

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What started as a dream to recreate the fantastical world of Willy Wonka turned into a real-life nightmare for children—and even for Billy Coull, the organizer behind a Glasgow event promising a “chocolate fantasy like never before.” The Willy’s Chocolate Experience aimed to be an immersive experience for families, but instead, it delivered disappointment and a hefty dose of chaotic memes.


The event, held at the Box Hub venue, fell far short of the glossy AI-generated visuals used in marketing. Attendees were greeted by a sparsely decorated space with a measly bouncy castle and a distinct lack of the promised chocolatey treats. Unsurprisingly, this led to widespread anger and frustration among families, many of whom demanded refunds for the overpriced tickets.


Coull, however, asserted that delivering a positive experience was his genuine intention. He blamed part of the fiasco on undelivered visual equipment, claiming it compromised his artistic vision.  The event ultimately descended into "absolute carnage" on its opening day, with parents confronting Coull's company, House of Illuminati, demanding their money back. The situation forced a cancellation, leaving a bitter taste in everyone's mouth.


Speaking out in Channel 5’s documentary, Wonka: The Scandal That Rocked Britain, Coull said his life “has been turned upside… [and] ruined.”




The shambolic fallout wasn’t limited to disgruntled attendees. Coull’s personal life also took a hit. He revealed losing friends and the “love of [his] life” due to the negative publicity. The online abuse was particularly harsh, with some messages resorting to personal attacks and even threats of self-harm directed at Coull.



It’s not a nice feeling to be under the microscope. I was getting hundreds and hundreds calling me the most awful names saying I’m a villain, I’m a horrific dad, I’m better off dead, I should kill myself.


He added: “I was made out to be the face of all evil. When genuinely that is really not the case.”


While Coull has attempted to process refunds, some customers remain out of pocket. He maintains his stance against accusations of being a scam artist, claiming he’s done his best to rectify the situation.




Image: Clare Jackson | Dreamstime.com

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