Travesty of the Day: Woman Fined $260 for Scolding Theater Texter

Say there were two people in a theater. One of them was a guy who was texting during the movie. The other was a woman who tapped the guy on the shoulder and told him to knock it off. The guy made a scene, screaming at her and storming out of the theater (which, as we know, never would’ve been allowed to happen at the Alamo Drafthouse). Now, out of the two, which one of them do you think was levied a $260 fine? If you answered the lady, congratulations, you are the state of Texas. (This instance aside, it’s the best state to be, because people are always saying not to mess with you).

Meet Dale Fout [pictured, left] and Brenda Godwin. One weekday in April, they both went to a movie theater in Grapevine.
Both are 54. Fout, a marketing consultant, describes himself as a 220-pound “pretty big guy. I’m broad. I’m not fat. Used to play football.” Godwin says she is a 136-pound skin care specialist.

I like to imagine that they asked Fout, “So, tell us a little about yourself.” And his answer was, “I’m broad but I’m not fat. I used to play football.” Oh, did you? Dude, you’re 54. Unless you played 10 years in the pros, no one gives a sh*t what sport you played in high school.

Her side
“He had his phone out. The light was shining at me. I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to turn it off.'” But he didn’t. ‘OK, this is ridiculous.’ So I reached over and tapped him on the shoulder. It was very bright. I was only trying to get his attention. He whipped around and said, ‘Don’t ever touch me.’ I was a little taken aback.
“He jumps up and whirls around towards me and says, ‘I am charging you with assault,’ and he flew out of the theater.”

His side
“I got a text, and I responded to it because it was something important. It was something that was on a deadline situation, OK.  [GRRR, MARKETING CAMPAIGNS NEVER SLEEP! –Ed] I held it against my chest purposely where I could barely see it. … I could text but hide the majority of the light coming from the phone.
“She said something. I couldn’t make it out. That’s why I turned. She was probably saying something like, ‘Get off your phone.’ I turned, and she pushed. She just happened to push my neck at the time my neck was in an awkward position. Kinda like having a little fender bender, and you get a little whiplash in your neck, you know.”

“Plus, it aggravated an old football injury. Did I mention I played football?”

Police report
“Fout advised he had been assaulted and his neck was in pain,” officer Emily Hays wrote. Fout was treated for neck pain by Grapevine paramedics. “Fout said a female who was sitting behind him in Theater 8 grabbed him by the shoulder because he was texting during the movie,” Hays wrote. “Fout said he got up, walked out of the theater and asked management to call police.”
“Fout stated he was offended by the contact and desires prosecution. Godwin was issued citation #P0039176 for assault by contact.”

Police comment
“We’re the middle person on this,” Lt. Todd Dearing says. “Assault by contact is usually not something like this. It’s usually a shove.” Because police didn’t witness the incident, a ticket was written. It’s a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a traffic ticket. “We stay neutral in these things. That’s what the courts are for.”

Because Godwin lives in Richmond, Va., she said it would be too expensive to return and fight the charge. So she paid a $260 fine. [Star-Telegram]

(I imagine the incident went down something like this)

That lady rolling on the floor? That’s you, Johnny Football. You flop worse than a Brazilian soccer player.

I won’t even get into the management calling the police for this guy or the police issuing the citation, it doesn’t excuse them, but I assume they were just trying to get this obnoxious A-hole out of their hair. Instead let’s focus on this: Doesn’t Dale Fout have any friends? Any co-workers, acquaintances? People who could ostracize him for being a rude, crybaby, A-hole pussy? This is a guy who lives in Texas who lists “Fox News” among his Likes on Facebook, who I guarantee you has at least once screamed about how about frivolous lawsuits are ruining the country, and here he is calling the f*cking paramedics so that he could make a whiplash claim against someone who tapped him on the shoulder in a movie theater. How are there no consequences for this? If hot teachers can get fired for banging their students (which, frankly, is just going above and beyond, as far as I’m concerned), surely this guy should lose his job, or be tarred and feathered, or put in the stocks, or ran out of town on a rail, or have his car guided into a manure truck by the karmic forces of the universe.  The internet is great and all, but the 21st century is really lacking in old-timey shaming methods. GET THEE TO A DUNKING BOOTH!

UPDATE: Here’s the follow-up interview with the same guy, in which he blames the liberal media.