504 Queens, a group of black women in Louisiana, said that during a Nov. 7 showing of Harriet at the AMC Clearview Palace 12 in Metairie, Louisiana, they were disturbed multiple times by employees who demanded to confirm their tickets and seat assignments. The three employees, including one kitchen staff member, appeared to be racially profiling the group.
“I saw how people were looking at us,” said Sandra Gordon, one of the women confronted by employees, reported Nola.com. “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.”
“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,” AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan wrote in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to our guests in the theater for this disruption and for the frustration they experienced as a result of it.”
The charity asked that AMC remedy the situation by doing the following:
- Give free Harriet tickets to all public and private high school students in Orleans and Jefferson parishes to educate them about the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman
- Donate all profits from AMC Clearview Theatre’s Black Friday sale to the nonprofit 504 Queens. Those funds would be used to purchase holiday meals for people in need.
- Provide mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all AMC theater staff
- Issue a written apology to the charity about the incident.
- Donate movie passes to 504 Queens for its 200 members to take young girls in their mentor program to movies next year
- Investigate and reevaluate AMC’s practices, policies, training and supervision around checking ticket stubs in theaters.
- Provide mandatory customer service training to AMC theater staff about protocol and policies.
- Terminate the theater employees involved in the incident.
AMC responded to the charity’s letter, complying with the list, including the termination of the employees involved in the incident.