A Maryland couple took to Twitter over the weekend to complain about what they called racial profiling at a Regal Theater in Silver Spring, where security was beefed up for a showing of the new movie “The Butler.”
Alan Hanson and Tiffany Flowers said the added security appeared to be only for “The Butler,” a film with mostly black actors about a longtime White House butler, a local ABC affiliate reported. The couple said the audience was also predominantly black.
“They had on what looked to me like bulletproof vests, sidearms, a badge sewn into their shirts. They looked serious,” Mr. Hanson told the station.
“There were rumblings among the crowd about being profiled at the movies. They must have thought this was going to be a particularly rowdy crowd,” Miss Flowers said. “I’ve traveled the world; been to a lot of movie theaters. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.
“I hope that Regal understands this treatment is deplorable, disgusting, and they owe us all an apology,” she said.
“The almost entirely black audience of #TheButler was subjected to watching the film while armed guards faced the audience. Why? @RegalMovies,” she tweeted Sunday night.
Regal Entertainment Group issued a statement, explaining that it routinely employs security personnel to ensure the safety of 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,” the statement read. “This weekend our Majestic theatre experienced a tremendous guest response to the feature ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ such that additional showtimes were added to meet our guests demands.”
Regal said the theater’s managers did not receive any complaints about the security or staff during any of the movie’s screenings that night.
“The Butler,” which stars Forest Whitaker, debuted at the number one spot over the weekend, raking in approximately $25 million, News One reported.