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'It felt like the 1800s again in 2019'
Three AMC theaters employees are out of a job after they reportedly racially profiled a group of black women during a screening of "Harriet," a new film about Harriet Tubman.
What are the details?
The incident took place at a Metairie, Louisiana, movie theater during a Nov. 3 screening of the film about the famous abolitionist.
At least a dozen members of a local African-American women's empowerment group — the 504 Queens — were in attendance at the theater when the incident took place.
The group insisted they had reserved seats at the showing. After the film began, however, theater employees and a manager re-entered the screening room and questioned if the group really had tickets and were in their right seats, stopping the movie midway through.
One woman within the group said that she couldn't believe what was happening.
"We were watching people being whipped, being shot in the head, their children being sold away from them," she said. "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."
The woman, Sandra Gordon, said that the group purchased their tickets well in advance were seated when another group of customers walked in, saw that Gordon and her group were sitting in the seats, and left. Just minutes later, an employee came into the theater and demanded to see Gordon's ticket. Gordon showed the employee her ticket stub to prove that she was in the correct seat.
The employee left, but a manager — who paused the film — came in shortly afterward and blasted Gordon for cursing and behaving disrespectfully to the first employee who walked in to check the ticket.
It didn't end there.
After the manager left the screening room and resumed the film, a third employee entered the room and demanded to see Gordon's ticket once more.
"I just wonder: If I was a white lady, would all of this have occurred?" Gordon said.
In response to the incident, the 504 Queens drafted a list of demands for the theater to rectify the issue. The list was delivered by the group's attorney, Alison McCrary.
One such demand was that the theater give out 20,000 free tickets to "Harriet" to be provided to all local high school students to see the film. Gordon hopes that students will see the film and be inspired by the historical events.
"I want them to realize that the struggles of the people who came before them gave them the freedom that they have, to eat and drink where they want to without harassment, and to vote in elections," she said. "I want them to realize how hard people fought for that."
What did the theater do?
A spokesperson for AMC issued an apology about the incident, said the three employees involved had been fired, and agreed to meet the demands set forth by the Queens' list.
Other demands include a written apology to Gordon and bias training for all staff.
Kevin Connor, AMC's general counsel and senior vice president, said that the company complied with all demands set forth on the group's list, including donating Black Friday proceeds to its charitable work foundation, which provides holiday meals to those people in need.
"We apologize for the several missteps and misunderstandings on behalf of our management and film crew that evening, to the serious and justified disappointment of the women you represent," Connor wrote in a letter.
HARRIET | Official Trailer | Now Playingwww.youtube.com
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