A teen and her family say they were angered when they were asked to leave an Oklahoma movie theater because of the 15-year-old's Tourette syndrome.
Emily Womack had gone to the AMC theater in Dray, Oklahoma, to see “Avengers: Endgame” last Thursday, and before the family knew it, they said staff at the theater told them it’d be best if they left.
“Emily got home from school and we decided to surprise her and let her know we were going to take her to opening night for the movie,” Emily’s mom, Tina Womack, InsideEdition.com. “She was letting the ticks out during commercials before the previews. A few minutes later a manager asked me to come out to the hallway.”
Tina said the manager told her nine people had complained about Emily’s squawking. She said she told him it wouldn’t be a problem during the movie and that Emily could suppress it.
“He said, ‘I can’t make you leave but I feel it would be best if that’s what you did because of the complaints,’” Tina said. “I told him I wasn’t leaving.”
The mom said when she went back in the theater that Emily was getting anxious because of the attention on her, which worsens her ticks. So they decided to leave.
“She started to tear and she said, 'Mom I don’t think I can be here anymore everyone was looking at me,'” Tina said.
The AMC movie theater gave the family four passes to come back and coupons for popcorn and soda. They also later refunded them the money for the movie through the mail and said it'd be better if Emily came for a matinee.
Tina said it should have never happened.
“She shouldn’t be kicked out of there when she was not going to be disruptive,” Tina said. “Our biggest issue was that they didn’t give her a chance to see and they didn’t do that. We have brought her to the movies before and she did not tick the whole time.
“They made it very uncomfortable for her and she is a child and she’s got a disability. It wasn’t acceptable the way they acted.”
AMC released a statement about the incident: "To ensure everyone can enjoy the moviegoing experience, AMC does not permit disruptive noises during the movie. In this case, the theater team attempted to resolve this situation without anyone having to leave the movie."
AMC added that it did not "'kick out' the guest or family, nor was anyone made to leave. The family was offered multiple options, including staying to watch the movie, as well as an invitation to see the movie at a less crowded showtime. The family initially chose to stay in the movie. Shortly after the movie started, the family chose to leave. Wanting to make sure everyone feels welcome at the theatre, the manager offered multiple passes, and coupons for popcorn and soda for a return visit. We’ve also reached out to the family to discuss other options for them to come back and see the movie."