WHITE CITY, Ore. — A Medford family says they were treated unfairly at a local movie theater.
They say they were with their autistic son at a showing of “Incredibles 2” at Cinemark 6 in White City when they were escorted out. They say another moviegoer complained about their son’s behavior to management.
Theater management claims they never asked the family to leave, but the family says that’s what happened.
They say they are deeply disappointed by how Cinemark handled the situation. They say they told the manager their son has autism, but they say she wasn’t accommodating of his needs.
“It just really ripped our hearts out because, you know, he doesn’t get to do these sorts of things,” said Ryder’s dad, Joshua Livingston.
Sarah Pressley and Joshua Livingston have a 5-year-old son, Ryder, who’s autistic. They say his favorite movie is “The Incredibles” and he was over the moon excited to watch “Incredibles 2,” but their time at a Cinemark Theater in White City on Thursday was cut short.
“The kids were really upset,” said Livingston. “They didn’t know why they had to leave.”
They say a woman complained about Ryder’s behavior to management.
“And all he said was woohoo good job to Mr. Incredible cause he did something.”
They told the manager that their son was autistic and they would try to keep him calm.
“I even told him multiple times – good job, good job son, you’re doing so good buddy,” said Pressley.
They say the manager waited for less than five minutes to watch Ryder’s behavior, then told them to leave.
“[The manager] just stood at the top of the aisle waiting for him to make a mistake,” said Livingston.
They say the theater offered them a refund and suggested they go to a less crowded showing, but the family says that’s what they did by choosing the noon showing.
“We were trying to be conscientious of people,” said Pressley. “You know, other people spending their time and money.”
Nbc5 reached out to Cinemark Theaters.
The company’s story is very different from Livingston’s account, and it denies that the family was ever asked to leave.
The theater says after several customers complained:
“On three different occasions the manager returned to the auditorium and attempted to identify a solution that would work for all parties involved. After it became apparent the child would not be able to stay seated and watch the movie, she asked the family to step into the hallway to discuss different options; from offering to identify a different, less crowded showtime, to offering refunds and passes for the family to return, etc. Unfortunately, the family opted for a full refund and chose to leave the theater.”
The family shared their story on Facebook Thursday night. It’s already been shared over 900 times and received hundreds of comments.
“People have been so supportive,” said Pressley. “And want to, you know, just be there.”
Still, the family says they’re just disappointed little Ryder didn’t get to see the movie he was so excited about.
“He was doing so well and he was enjoying himself,” said Livingston. “He doesn’t understand, so it all fell on us in terms of the pain of it.”
Here’s Cinemark’s full statement:
Thank you for reaching out. There was an erroneous social media report that stated the Livingston family was asked to leave the theatre due to their child’s disruptive behavior. To be clear, at no time was the family asked to leave.
During the movie, several customers reached out to theatre staff complaining about a child running up and down the aisles, yelling loudly and disrupting the experience for other guests in the auditorium. As is customary, our manager entered the auditorium and visited with the family. On three different occasions, the manager returned to the auditorium and attempted to identify a solution that would work for all parties involved. After it became apparent the child would not be able to stay seated and watch the movie, she asked the family to step into the hallway to discuss different options; from offering to identify a different, less crowded showtime, to offering refunds and passes for the family to return, etc. Unfortunately, the family opted for a full refund and chose to leave the theatre.
Since the incident occurred, our manager has repeatedly reached out to the family. We regret that the Livingston family did not have a good movie-going experience and invite them to respond to our inquiries, so we can discuss possible movie-going solutions for a future visit.”
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