A Black man out for a night at the movies is sharing his story after he was accused of slipping in a side door to see Captain Marvel, even though he had purchased a ticket to the movie.
Larry Shelton, a mortgage banker in Ahwatukee, Arizona, said he was mid-way through the action movie when he left to use the bathroom and grab a drink refill at an AMC theater in Phoenix.
But on his way out of the restroom, he was approached by theater staff and accused of sneaking in to catch the Marvel flick, Yahoo reports.
“I’m walking back to my seat with my cup when a manager runs up and said I entered the building through an exit door,” Shelton told Yahoo Lifestyle. “He was very nasty with me and told me to leave.”
But Shelton stood his ground and went back to his seat, popped on his 3-D glasses and continue to much on his popcorn. That’s when a security guard approached him and asked him to leave. Shelton refused and instead filmed the confrontation on Facebook. The video has received nearly one million views.
Shelton also recorded a video from the lobby where he was met by police officers.
“These guys said you didn’t have a ticket,” said an officer.
A manager said, “Sir, you walked in an exit door and my staff warned me they did not sell you a ticket…I am sure. Nobody scanned your ticket.”
But he was wrong. Shelton presented his ticket to the officer and the manager who then berated him for not showing it earlier.
When Shelton asked for a refund the manager refused. “You’re not getting a refund. You violated our code of conduct by turning a flashlight on in the theater.”
Black Lives Matter Arizona called for a protest outside the theater for the “racial profiling, harassment, and mistreatment” of Shelton.
AMC issued this statement to Shelton which was shared with the outlet:
“AMC deeply regrets that this avoidable situation occurred. Based on our initial investigation, including interviews with the theatre staff and our outreach to the guest, this situation could have been handled differently to minimize frustration, and we’ve offered our sincere apologies to Mr. Shelton. Regarding what transpired, a member of the theatre team, acting on information about unauthorized access to the theatre through an exit door, approached a guest in the area, who was reentering an auditorium mid-movie. When the guest declined to show his ticket stub, the manager called for security, and when the guest again declined to show his ticket stub or leave the auditorium, the theatre called the police. Once police arrived, the guest produced his ticket.”
“We understand that Mr. Shelton feels he was treated with bias,” said the spokesperson. “Equality is of the utmost importance to AMC, which is why unconscious bias training is required for all AMC management associates, and we will be reinforcing that training at this theatre.”
“I felt very ashamed,” Shelton said. He has also declined their offer of free movie passes and popcorn and is seeking counsel.