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2 Jelly Babies, Lemonade and AI-Generated Illusions: Willy Wonka Event In Glasgow Leaves Children in Tears

Parents had to call the police to get a refund for their tickets
A cosplayer dressed as Willy Wonka (representative image) | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer
A cosplayer dressed as Willy Wonka (representative image) | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer

An event organizer scammed several “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fans in Glasgow, Scotland by using fantastical AI generated images to promote a Willy Wonka-inspired experience event. Families were left disappointed as the expectations of their children did not meet reality. People who attended the 'Willy's Chocolate Experience' event were looking for the oversized lollipops, and a paradise of sweet treats, which was shown on the event’s website. However, children were left to tears and people had to call the police to get a refund for their tickets.


The event called “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” was organized by the House of Illuminati. It was promoted across social media through ads and its website that promised to show “a universe where confectionary dreams are brought to life.”

Attendees were promised extraordinary projections, optical marvels, and “wondrous creations and enchanting surprises.” Most of the ad copy was later found to be AI-generated and even the images shared on the website were AI-generated, a reverse image search indicated, as per NBC.

Furthermore, tickets to the event were sold for about $44.40 (£35).

The façade of the extraordinary event came crashing down when the attendees got to the location. Families described the reality of the event as “absolutely appalling” and a “waste of money.”

Outraged attendees started posting their experiences online, calling the event a disaster and a “scam.”


“It took two minutes to get through to then see a line of people surrounding the guy running it and complaining,” Stuart Sinclair wrote on Facebook called the event as a “shambles.” His post also showed a series of comical photos that show the event was anything but magical.

According to Sinclair, the kids received two jelly babies and quarters of a can of Barr lemonade as part of their magical Willy Wonka Experience.


“For the sake of my children, we were trying to be happy and smiley so that they wouldn’t pick up on the disappointment and just tried to make the best of a bad situation,” said another attendee, Alana Lockens, in a NBC report.


As people started complaining, while comforting their disappointed kids, the event was canceled halfway through its opening day. The police were called who confirmed to Sky News that the organizer would be issuing a refund for the tickets.

Further examination, along with interviews of people hired to work the event, revealed the deeper extent of the use of AI-generated media which played a key role in creating the scam.


NBC News spoke to two actors who were hired for the event. The actors said that were promised £500 (approximately $633) to perform in themed costumes at the event. They said that all of the actors were given a script that appeared to be AI-generated because of its “gibberish” wording. The actors realized that it could be a scam when they showed up for rehearsal Friday night, at a massively underwhelming set. However, they hoped things would get better the next day.

As per an Independent report, actor Paul Connell who was hired to play the role of Willy Wonka also showed up on rehearsal day at the near-empty warehouse. The 31-year-old told the news outlet that before the event, the actors had realized that they would probably not get paid. However, they chose to go through with the event to make it “as magic as possible” for the kids who had already come.


Connel further said that people were shouting, and the set was being thrashed as people argued with the staff.

According to a PetaPixel report, the organizers House of Illuminati have apologized for the debacle. They have also agreed to share a full refund.

This is not the first time AI images have been used to give a false impression. Previously Uber Eats allegedly used AI-generated images of food to represent restaurants that didn’t have pictures on the platform and several of them went wrong.