A group of Black women in New Orleans is crying foul, saying they were discriminated against and accused of using fake tickets to see the new movie, Harriet.
The ladies, who are part of the 504 Queens women’s empowerment group, came together for a night out. But they say they were confronted by AMC Clearview Palace 12 employees who stopped the film and questioned them about their tickets, NOLA.com reports.
Sandra Gordon, 65, says she felt “humiliated” by how the workers treated her.
On Sunday, Gordon said while she and about 13 group members watched the popular movie about the legendary abolitionist, several movie-goers came in and saw Gordon and the group sitting in a few seats in Row E. The people, Gordon said, left after seeing the seats were already occupied.
Next, Gordon explains, at least three employees came in and demanded to see Gordon’s ticket.
“I want to see your ticket,” the employee said according to Gordon. “You’re in the wrong seat.”
Gordon said she showed one of the employees the ticket on her smartphone and the employee left.
Then, Gordon said, a kitchen manager abruptly stopped the film. Everyone looked around in confusion as the house lights came up and the screen went dark.
“Everybody said, ‘Oh, man, what happened?’ And then they turned around and looked right at us,” said Cynthia Armstrong, another member of 504 Queens.
Another employee then reportedly confronted Gordon and yelled and accused Gordon of being disrespectful to the other employee who checked her ticket.
“I heard you had a conflict with my employee,” she said, according to Gordon.
Brandon Mayo, 32, who was in attendance said the conflict was shocking.
“I was shocked. She was all in that woman’s (Gordon’s) face. And the woman was an elderly woman,” said Mayo.
“Some people yelled, ‘Take her out of here.’ As if she had done something to make them cut the movie off,” Mayo said. “I’m sure it was embarrassing.”
“I saw how people were looking at us,” said Gordon.
“It was humiliating. Especially with the movie being shown. We were watching people being whipped, being shot in the head, their children being sold away from them. And then you shut down this movie, this emotional movie, and come to me about a ticket dispute? It felt like the 1800s again in 2019.”
Gordon said the group felt like they were racially profiled.
“I just wonder: If I was a white lady, would all of this have occurred?” Gordon said.
After an investigation from AMC Theatres’ corporate office, they admitted that “mistakes by the theater team led to this unacceptable and unnecessary disruption.”
“Based on our initial investigation, operational mistakes by the theater team led to this unacceptable and unnecessary disruption, and we are working with the theater to address what occurred,” said Spokesman Ryan Noonan of AMC Theatres in a prepared statement.
“We sincerely apologize to our guests in the theater for this disruption and for the frustration they experienced as a result of it.”