A true-crime app scraps plans to turn George Floyd’s killing into ‘an experience’

Amid mounting criticism, augmented-reality app CrimeDoor has nixed plans for an experience based on the killing of George Floyd.

After a recent press release that invited users to experience the “iconic final moments” of Floyd and other prominent figures sparked a sharp backlash online, CrimeDoor announced it will not be moving forward with its feature on Floyd, The Times confirmed Thursday.

“While George Floyd was at one point discussed internally as a current moment that would go down in history due to the crime’s nature and societal impact, the CrimeDoor team decided that crime was too sensitive and the timing did not feel right to feature it,” a spokesperson for CrimeDoor said Thursday in a statement to The Times. (The rep also told Variety that the controversial press release was a “very early and unapproved draft.”)

“No case profile or AR door has been created around this, and there is no plan to launch this currently.”

Floyd died last year in police custody after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned his knee on his neck for about nine minutes. Chauvin, who has been been charged with murder and manslaughter, is on trial for the killing of Floyd. Last summer, video of the encounter prompted Black Lives Matter protests across the United States and abroad.

Launched in December by tech entrepreneurs and true-crime enthusiasts Neil and Lauren Mandt, CrimeDoor bills itself as “a one of a kind Augmented Reality … app that ‘opens the doors’ to real crime scenes,” including the high-profile murders of John Lennon, JonBenét Ramsey, Nicole Brown Simpson, the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur and Selena.

Last month, a representative for CrimeDoor wrote in a statement to reporters that “CrimeDoor does not celebrate killers but gives a voice to the victims.”

But its latest batch of AR experiences tracking the deaths of Floyd, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ did not go over well on Twitter. On Tuesday Washington Post reporter Maura Judkis tweeted about it, deeming it “the most f— up press release for the worst app I’ve ever heard of.”

Several others agreed, condemning the concept as “exploitative bulls—,” “bizarre,” “hideous” and “straight out of a Black Mirror episode.” (“Black Mirror” is a dystopian anthology series on Netflix series that sees its characters navigate twisted and sinister technological landscapes.)

The CrimeDoor app offers a variety of virtual landscapes touted as “exact AR recreations of the crime scene photos,” as well as a map feature that allows users to pinpoint the exact locations where the events took place. Some of its most famous cases are available to access individually for $1.99, according to Variety. This week’s press release indicated that the scrapped Floyd project would have been available for free.

According to a March announcement from CrimeDoor, the app has been downloaded more than 220,000 times. That number has not been independently verified by The Times.

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