AMC Theatres has fired three employees after an African American women’s group said they were racially profiled at a screening of “Harriet” in Metairie, Louisiana.
The incident happened when 15 members of the nonprofit 504 Queens went to see the film at AMC Clearview, according to New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU.
The women told the TV station that they were approached by three different employees demanding proof they were supposed to be sitting in the reserved seats where they were watching the film.
“She said ‘you’re in the wrong seat,'” one woman recalled being told. “I said, ‘no I don’t think so.'”
The employee insisted on seeing the woman’s ticket, which she had downloaded to her phone, and later showed to a news reporter to prove she was a paying customer.
“It was like the 1800s coming back to my face in 2019,” a group member said.
A lawyer representing 504 Queens sent a letter to AMC on Nov. 7, to complain about the way the women were treated.
The letter said the women were discriminated against by two theater employees and a member of the kitchen staff .
At one point, one of the employees stopped the film and turned on the lights to confirm the women were paying customers.
“You mean to tell me a kitchen employee has the authority to stop a movie, and also turn on all the lights to embarrass me? And to be aggressive with me in that manner?” a group member said.
The letter to AMC requested the theater chain take several steps to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again, including:
-Giving free “Harriet” tickets to all public and private high school students in Orleans and Jefferson parishes
-Providing mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all AMC theater staff
-Donating profits from Clearview Palace 12’s Black Friday sales to 504 Queens, for the funds to be used to purchase holiday meals for the needy.
-Issuing a written apology to the charity
AMC responded with a letter saying the three workers had been fired, and agreeing to comply with all of the group’s demands.