Armed guards watch Black audience view The Butler
26th August 2013 · 0 Comments
By J. Kojo Livingston
A movie theater in Maryland treated used riot-control measures at a screening of The Butler.
On August 18 Twitter posts began to reveal that Regal Cinemas Majestic Stadium in Silver Spring, Md. treated the mostly Black crowd coming to see the movie like potential criminals with an overtly heavy police presence and practices that were unheard of before that day.
Tiffany Flowers expressed her “utter disgust” at the security measures that appeared to only be directed at the showing of The Butler. For this movie customers’ tickets were checked twice before they could enter the theater. Once inside they were confronted by a police officer who told them where to sit.
The big surprise and the biggest insult for most of the patrons was that during the entire movie armed guards stood in front of the screen, facing the audience. Flowers described the scene in her Twitter post, “The almost entirely Black audience of The Butler was subjected to watching the film while armed guards faced the audience. Why?”
Representatives at the theater did not deny the incident. However Russ Nunley, a representative from Regal, issued the following statement to the Huffington Post: “Regal Entertainment Group routinely employs security personnel to ensure the safety all of our guests and staff. When a theatre experiences sold-out showings of any feature, security will assist with crowd control and guest assistance throughout the facility, including auditoriums.
This weekend our Majestic theatre experienced a tremendous guest response to the feature Lee Daniels’ The Butler such that additional showtimes were added to meet our guests’ demands.
At no time did local management receive any guest complaints or concerns about our security or staff, who worked diligently to meet all of our guests’ needs.
To the extent any guests were disappointed with their experience, we welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and provide them the best entertainment experience possible in their future visits to our theatres.”
This article originally published in the August 26, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.