UPDATE: Cinemark responds to story of special needs girl
A spokesperson for Cinemark responded with a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding an incident where a family says they were asked to leave a theater because a 12-year-old girl with special needs was making loud breathing noises.
The spokesperson says some erroneous information was posted on social media related to the Davis family, who went to a screening of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" at the Huntington Mall Cinemark Saturday night.
"During the movie on Saturday evening, customers reached out to our theater staff complaining that a young girl was experiencing labored breathing, and the loud noises were causing a disruption to the movie experience in the auditorium," the spokesperson said. "Our manager entered the auditorium, listened during both quiet and action-filled movie scenes, and determined that the loud breathing was making it difficult to hear the movie's audio."
The spokesperson says the manager then approached the Davis family and politely asked Ms. Davis to step into the hallway.
"He fully explained the situation and asked if anything could be done to help soften the loud breathing noise," the spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, in this case, there was not a solution available, so the manager offered to host a private screening of the movie for their family. The Davis family was not interested in that option at the time. On three different occasions, the manager offered the family a full refund, but they declined and chose to leave the theater."
The statement goes on to say "We regret that this difficult situation negatively affected the movie-going experience in our theater and invite the Davis family to contact us if they do decide they would like to schedule a private screening."
The spokesperson said more than one person had complained about the noise the girl was making.
A family is wounded by what they call a lack of compassion.
The family says they were asked to leave a movie theater after a complaint about their 12-year-old daughter who has special needs.
Parents say they were asked to leave because the girl was making too much noise breathing.
Shannon Davis and her wife Gina have adopted four children. They adopted 12-year-old Charlie four years ago.
"She's a victim of shaken baby syndrome," Shannon said. "It rendered her blind and quadriplegic. She didn't know what a mom was till we taught her."
Saturday night, the family went to see Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom at the Huntington Mall Cinemark.
"She loves to go to the movies," Shannon said. "It's her favorite thing because they offer audio described headsets."
Shannon says they were seated in the handicap section, and a man was sitting directly in front of them.
"She can't talk, so she wasn't vocalizing or yelling, but she was breathing fast," Shannon said. "She was very excited to get to do her favorite thing."
She says the man seated in front of them complained to the manager that the girl was making too much noise.
They say about half an hour into the movie, an employee came into the theater and told them they needed to leave.
"He said her breathing was too much for everybody I guess and we needed to leave," Shannon said. "It broke my heart."
The parents say they were offered a refund and to come back for a private screening, but they say that's not good enough.
"We just want the precedent set and maybe for them to teach their employees how to handle the situation better in the future," Shannon said.
They say there were plenty empty seats in the theater, and the man could've chosen to sit where the girl's noise wouldn't have been as much of a distraction.
"There were definitely better options to accommodate both parties if they wanted to, but they chose to ask us to leave," Gina said.
"It broke my heart that on top of everything else, all the problems she has and all the things she can't do, that she would be shamed and embarrassed and hurt knowing somebody thought her breathing was so intolerable that our entire family had to leave the theater," Shannon said.
An employee at the Huntington Mall Cinemark said no one there would be able to comment, and they referred us to their corporate number. Our message for them has not been returned.