Lee Daniels’ The Butler was released this weekend and two moviegoers claim that the extra security at the Regal Majestic Theater in Silver Spring, Md., made them feel racially profiled. Tiffany Flowers, a labor organizer, tweeted directly to Regal Theaters about her experience at the Saturday evening showing. Flowers watched the movie with her husband, Alan Hanson, who noticed that the extra security was only for that movie.
“A lot of people feel that an overwhelmingly African American audience getting three police officers were sent to guard and manage our entrance and exit from the theater the second night is very, very suspicious. I just find it very hard to believe that it was coincidence and it made me upset,” she told NBC. “So I’m hoping that they come up with an answer that we can all deal with.”
Hanson adds, “Our expectation is they will do the right thing. If not, there are many eyes on this. I believe they’ll respond by not spending their money at a Regal movie chain.”
Flowers indicated on Twitter that she is working on a petition to get the movie out of the theater and posted the number for the multiplex, encouraging people to call and “express your disgust.”
Regal Entertainment Group issued the following statement to multiple outlets in response to the incident:
“We routinely employ security personnel to ensure the safety of 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 show times 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 who 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.”
Read Flowers’ tweets. Tell us if you think they were racially profiled or if the theater was just ensuring the guests’ and staff’s safety. –joi pearson @JoiAPearson