Court overturns theater’s fine for shushing black folks during Tyler Perry movie

03.02.11 8 years ago 27 Comments

The Delaware Supreme Court recently overturned a fine against a theater stemming from an incident in which a theater manager warned black patrons not to talk loudly during a Tyler Perry movie.  Oh, is that a stereotype?  I hadn’t heard.

The Delaware Supreme Court overturned a decision by the state Human Relations Commission that the manager of a Dover cinema was racist when he used a “condescending tone” in telling a crowd of largely black patrons viewing a Tyler Perry movie to silence their cell phones and remain quiet.

The commission had ordered the Carmike 14 Theater to pay nearly $80,000 for violating the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law after it determined the October 2007 announcement [during a screening of Why Did I Get Married] — which was not regularly made in that way in other theaters — “insulted, humiliated and demeaned” patrons in that manager David Stewart had singled out a black audience at a “minority-themed” movie.

Some patrons later said Stewart’s tone “was offensive and condescending, as if he were speaking to children.” And because the crowd, which had been well-behaved to that point, was “90 to 95 percent” black, some felt it was racist because it implied that blacks did not know how to behave in a movie theater.

One person in the theater who stood up and announced her opinion that the manager’s actions were racist was Juana Fuentes-Bowles, then the director of the state’s Human Relations Division, according to the ruling. Fuentes-Bowles, who apparently did not announce her title but said she was “an attorney or someone who worked for an attorney,” then collected names and phone numbers of patrons who were offended. [DelawareOnline]

“How dare they further these false and hurtful stereotypes!” said Juana, demanding respect, rolling her neck and snapping her fingers in a circle.  …I kid, I kid.  But seriously, I’m sad it got overturned.  The theater deserved that fine.  It was a screening of a Tyler Perry movie. People are going to talk at the screen. That’s a cultural thing.  You don’t go into a Katherine Heigl movie and make the dumb sorority girls remove all the Tiffany’s jewelry their boyfriends bought them, or show up at a Michael Bay movie and start giving spelling tests.

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