When Alamo Drafthouse hosted women-only screenings of Wonder Woman in June, it was met with rage from angry male moviegoers. The theater chain defended its position and wanted an experience for women where they can enjoy the film without men. As a result, the theater chain is being accused of breaking anti-discrimination laws. The women-only screening initially debuted in Austin and later in New York and Denver.
The city of Austin has received an apology letter from Drafthouse for its screening. Furthermore, the chain has revealed that its support of women was violating the anti-discrimination laws in the Texas city. Before the apology was the objection from men, saying that they felt discriminated against. As a result, two official complaints were filed with the city.
“Respondent did not realize that advertising a ‘women’s-only’ screening was a violation of discrimination laws,” Drafthouse wrote to the city. “Respondent has a very strict non-discrimination policy in place, but this policy did NOT include a specific prohibition against advertising.”
Stephen Clark, a gay Albany law professor, and an anonymous man filed the complaints. Clark concentrates on laws regarding sexual orientation and employment, and the screening didn’t feel right for him. “I’m a specialist in anti-discrimination law, so I was fairly certain that this was not lawful,” he told MyStatesman. “If they were trying to do a gay-only ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ I would feel the same way.”
As a matter of fact, Austin bans public accommodation, in this case a movie theater, from restricting their services to anyone based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation and gender identification.
For this reason, Drafthouse is giving those who have complained Wonder Woman DVDs, and it will be updating its policies regarding discrimination. Furthermore, the chain will be updating its staff. However, it may be facing consequences if the city launches an investigation… that’s if the protesters deny the terms.
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