Some deaf and hearing-impaired moviegoers say a Rhode Island theater refused to switch on the captioning so they could follow along with Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'. The Providence Journal reports 18 hearing-impaired people tried to see the movie at the Showcase Cinemas at Warwick Mall on Saturday.
Organizer Tim Riker, 36, says the group arrived unannounced and requested theater employees activate the captioning, to see a movie Saturday. Riker says manager Dave Kuncio refused, suggesting it wouldn't be fair to other patrons who had not paid to see a subtitled movie.
The group left without seeing the movie. 'We just want to go out and have fun,' Riker said. He says the group wants state lawmakers to approve pending legislation requiring theaters with at least eight screens to accommodate hearing- and sight-impaired customers.
The legislation would require these theaters to make open-captioning visible during movies equipped with this function twice weekly. In other instances, if hearing-impaired patrons are the majority in the screening room and the theater doesn't have enough 'assistive' eyeglasses available, it'll be required to turn on open-captioning.
Kuncio did offer the eight available assistive eyeglasses Saturday, but the group refused because there weren't enough for everybody. The Warwick theater is owned by Massachusetts-based National Amusements, which hasn't commented.
ATR Comment: In this case, it would appear the deaf were unreasonable, by not informing the theatre they were coming. The manager did offer most of them access but hadn't enough equipment. That isn't discrimination.