AMC Theatres have fired three employees from their Metairie, Louisiana location following an investigation into claims of a racial profiling during a showing of Harriet earlier this month, NOLA.com reports.
On Nov. 3, more than a dozen members of the 504 Queens, an African-American women's empowerment group, were confronted by the first of what would be three AMC Theatres employees that Sunday night.
The first incident occurred after the lights came on midway through the showing of Harriet. The group of middle-aged women were asked to show their tickets to prove that they had the correct seats. This entire ordeal happened as everyone else in the theater witnessed the “humiliating” exchange.
“I saw how people were looking at us. It was humiliating,” Sandra Gordon, one of the women in the group, said. “Especially with the movie being shown. We were watching people being whipped, being shot in the head, their children being sold away from them. 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 film was paused a second time by another employee who accused the women of cursing and being disrespectful to the previous worker. Fellow moviegoers believe the film was interrupted for between five to seven minutes.
A third employee interrupted the film to ask for their account of the incident, as well as requesting to see their tickets again. The group asked to speak with the theater’s manager to receive a refund, alleging that they were treated unfairly. All of them were begrudgingly given a refund by the manager without an apology.
“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,” Kevin Connor, the general counsel and senior vice president for AMC Theatres, wrote in a statement.
The company has also set aside two days this month when any high school student in the New Orleans area can watch Harriet without charge, as per the 504 Queens' request.