Theater Ordered To Pay $80,000 For “Demeaning” Black Audience In Attendance For Tyler Perry Movie
“Some patrons later said Stewart’s tone “was offensive and condescending, as if he were speaking to children.” And because the crowd, which had been well-behaved to that point, was “90 to 95 percent” black, some felt it was racist because it implied that blacks did not know how to behave in a movie theater.
Justices Randy J. Holland, Carolyn Berger and Jack B. Jacobs ruled the non-racial explanations for the announcement were reasonable and pointed to uncontested evidence that a week earlier Stewart had made the same announcement at a showing of the movie “Halloween” to a largely teenage audience.”
So, I guess the math here states that a theater full of adult black folks seeing a “black movie” (in this case, a Tyler Perry movie) is equivalent to a theater full of teenagers seeing a Halloween flick. Just doing the math, based on the statements
The theater was ordered by the Delaware Supreme Court to pay close to $80,000 for violating the state’s Equal Accommodations Law, after Stewart a manager of the theater “demeaned a theater of black patrons by telling them to turn of cellphones, be quiet, and remain in their seats prior to a 2007 showing of “Why Did I Get Married”.”
The Court’s ruling states that while they didn’t believe the manager used “racist language,” the court determined that he “singled-out” a black audience, because he didn’t make similar announcements in other theaters that night.
Each plaintiff received $1,500 in damages.
I think this may be the first time a case like this has been filed and won… feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
This reminded me of a post from last year in which Denzel stared down some chatty audience members during a showing of Fences on Broadway, which he was starring in:
“There are all these women coming to see me, to see this actor they like, and I appreciate that… But at some shows, women are carrying on and snickering too much. Like at our Mother’s Day performance. Some audience members wouldn’t stop talking during an Act II speech. So I walked down to the front of the stage and stared at them, silently, for 30 seconds. They stopped, and I went on,” Denzel said, talking w/ the New York Times about dealing with inappropriate, distracting reactions from audiences.
So, to re-visit this “black people don’t know how to act in the theater” meme, where do you fall? Are you one of those who likes to “get involved” in what’s happening on screen or on stage when you go to a movie or stage production? Or do prefer to sit quietly and watch?
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