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Disabled 7-year-old ejected from theater

Old 08-18-05, 11:38 AM
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Disabled 7-year-old ejected from theater

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/...8/laughter.htm

Assuming he was being extremely loud.. Does he have the right to ruin the movie for everyone else because he's disabled? I've got a hunch he must have been extremely loud for the manager to refund the money and take this action.

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Town of Wallkill If you're a 7-year-old kid with cerebral palsy and autism, you have to take your laughs anywhere you can get them. Just don't have too much fun at the local movie theater, or you might get thrown out.

That's what happened to young Anthony Pratti this week. To say his parents are upset about it would be an understatement. Anthony, who uses a wheelchair, was with his parents, his sister and his grandmother at the Loews Cineplex theaters in the Galleria at Crystal Run Sunday, watching a 1:15 p.m. matinee of the G-rated film "March of the Penguins."

The family sat in the wheelchair section provided by the theater. Anthony was having a good time, said his mom, Gina Pratti. "He was laughing, but he really wasn't much louder than any of the other kids," she said. About 15 minutes into the film, one of the theater's managers approached the family, she said. "He said our son was laughing too loud," Pratti said. "My husband told him Anthony didn't understand, that he was disabled, but that we'd try to quiet him down."

Not good enough, apparently the manager brusquely told the family that Anthony had to leave, Pratti said. Outraged, the family followed the manager to the lobby, where they were told they all didn't have to leave just Anthony, Pratti said. Pratti was dumbfounded. "I said to him, what are we supposed to do, wheel him outside and leave him there?" she said.

The manager refunded the family's ticket purchase and sent them on their way, she said. Pratti and her husband have spent the past three days making phone calls and sending e-mails, trying to get someone anyone from Loews to give them an explanation. "Not one person from Loews has called me back," Pratti said.

When contacted by the Times Herald-Record yesterday, a representative of Loews corporate headquarters said the company is concerned by Pratti's story, and is looking into Sunday's events. The company says it will issue a statement today. Pratti has spoken with attorneys about the incident, but isn't sure she wants to pursue any legal action. Meanwhile, Pratti says she hopes Loews will do whatever it takes to make amends.

"This was only the third movie Anthony had ever seen, and now we're afraid to go back because they might throw us out again," Pratti said. Explanations aside, Pratti has a simple message for the manager she says publicly humiliated her son: "Shame on you."
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Old 08-18-05, 11:42 AM
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As much as I dislike people who are "too loud" in theaters, this story is just a heartbreaker. It's not just that this kid (and his family) are burdened with disabilities, but he can't even enjoy going to a movie without having a scene develop around him.

Tough call for the theater, too - it's a lose-lose no matter which way they go.

Last edited by Pointyskull; 08-18-05 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:42 AM
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I've been in theaters with this situation before, and it really can be an unpleasant experience. The person is really loud and obnoxious, and nobody can do anything about it.

It's a very uncomfortable situation...the movie is ruined, but you don't want to say anything and look like a jerk.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:45 AM
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I'm not heartbroken. I'm sorry he's disabled. But ruining a movie for everyone else isn't acceptable. As a matter of fact, if his family is unable to have him be quiet during a movie, shame on them for bringing him.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:46 AM
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It is a heartbreaker but for him to be kicked out he would have had to be making a lot of noise. I believe the manger did the right thing as if it were a non-disabled kid making a lot of noise, the kid would have been kicked out. This is a lose-lose situation, there is no other way around it.


Maybe give him and his family a private showing?
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Old 08-18-05, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Lateralus
Maybe give him and his family a private showing?
There's the golden PR move.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
I've been in theaters with this situation before, and it really can be an unpleasant experience. The person is really loud and obnoxious, and nobody can do anything about it.

It's a very uncomfortable situation...the movie is ruined, but you don't want to say anything and look like a jerk.
Same here. I was watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and there were some really rude people.

Sorry.. couldn't resist that. I agree with you, and i'm "the guy" who always gets up and tells the manager. Which, I suspect, someone probably did here.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Duran
As a matter of fact, if his family is unable to have him be quiet during a movie, shame on them for bringing him.
I agree with this. It's the same as bringing a baby into the movie theater. It's not the baby's fault it's crying and fussing...that's what babies do. It's the parents fault for putting him in that situation.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:48 AM
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I find it refreshing that there is actually a theater manager out there who is concerned with someone disturbing others.
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Old 08-18-05, 11:50 AM
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I'm a caregiver for people with disabilities and I've taken them to movies before. I had one client that would laugh at inappropriate times and make other noises. If I couldn't get him to shut up after a little while, I'd take him out immediately. I've had co-workers that just stayed there, saying that he had as much right as anyone else to be there. I SO don't believe that. I know that I hate when people are talking during a movie, let alone making animal sounds though the whole thing.

As for the story, I'd say that there's probably more to the story. You only get the parents side of the story. Of course they're gonna want to make it seem as though their kid is in the right here. They're used to the volume of his "laughing", I'm sure...
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Old 08-18-05, 11:51 AM
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I once had Stephen Hawking thrown out of a theater for making too much noise...I feel bad about it now.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:00 PM
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I don't blame him (as I could hardly contain myself!) 'cause that's a REALLY FUNNY MOVIE!!! & &
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Old 08-18-05, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Duran
I'm not heartbroken. I'm sorry he's disabled. But ruining a movie for everyone else isn't acceptable.
I went with heartbreaker because I'm looking past the simple public interruption and imagining all of the daily hardships that the rest of us just take for granted - like going to a movie.

But that's just me.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:01 PM
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Yea this is a lose-lose situation for the movie theater. Private showing would be the best move.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Duran
But ruining a movie for everyone else isn't acceptable. As a matter of fact, if his family is unable to have him be quiet during a movie, shame on them for bringing him.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:03 PM
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Working with the DD population myself, there have been many times when we have had to take our consumers out of the theatre and leave. In fact for the most part, we would leave at the very slightest of problems, before anything was a problem to everyone else. I have no issue with the theatre doing this, as it reinforces the idea of normalcy. I do have a problem with the fact that it doesnt seem to be universally enforced. I question if this manager would have done the same thing in the case of some loud teenagers, asshats with a cellphone, or a baby. Its been my experience that they dont do a damn thing in those cases, in fact I dont think I have ever seen one person asked to leave a theatre because of the way they were acting.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:05 PM
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This past weekend I was at "Murderball" and there was a group of penguins in front of us who were talking on their cell phones, yelling at the screen and generally being obnoxious. Of course the management did absolutely nothing. Seems like a racist double standard to me, but I guess that's the times we live in.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Same here. I was watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and there were some really rude people.
How exactly is one rude at Rocky Horror Picture Show? You pretty much have to be an asshole, don't you since it's such a crowd participation movie?

I don't see why he was kicked out for having a good time, March of the Penguin's is harmless. Now if they were watching Schindler's List or something. I've heard worse from fanboys.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:06 PM
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How exactly is one rude at Rocky Horror Picture Show? You pretty much have to be an asshole, don't you since it's such a crowd participation movie?
(I believe he was kidding...)
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Old 08-18-05, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by devilshalo
How exactly is one rude at Rocky Horror Picture Show? You pretty much have to be an asshole, don't you since it's such a crowd participation movie?
I'm pretty sure the asshole was Brad. The whole Rocky Horror thing was a lame attempt at injecting humor into a serious thread.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Edit King
(I believe he was kidding...)
Oh? I wouldn't know.. I don't go to those freak show movies anyways.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:16 PM
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If the kid truly wasn't doing anything different than other kids during the movie, then shame on the theater.

At least this kid has a reason why can't control himself in a theater. What about all of the f'n idiots who are loud and beligerent and have no medical reason.

Another option is for theaters to offer screenings that are specifically for the mentally disabled. They do it for mothers with babies, so why not for these kids.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:22 PM
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Private showing was the first thing I thought of also after reading this.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:28 PM
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Anthony was having a good time, said his mom, Gina Pratti. "He was laughing, but he really wasn't much louder than any of the other kids," she said.
This is what it pretty much boils down to. So either the manager overracted or the mother is unaware of/ignoring how loud her kid really is. Actually, I'm guessing there may be a third option here... that perhaps he was laughing at "the wrong parts" or just laughing nonstop, regardless of volume level.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:29 PM
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If he was laughing no louder than the other kids, how would the manager be able to pick him out?
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