Expert weighs in on Cinemark 17 controversy

The expert said it was disheartening to hear about the Brantons’ story and hopes people can be more considerate.

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 7:26 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 7:33 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The community continues to rally around a mother and son who were kicked out of a Springfield movie theater over the weekend because he was making too much noise. Experts who work with people who are disabled said this is another good reminder for all of us to be more aware and mindful of others.

On Saturday, Brenda Branton posted on her Facebook that she and her son Sam were kicked out of the Cinemark 17 Theater in Springfield while they were watching “Deadpool 2” because Sam was making too many noises. It was Sam’s birthday.

KEZI spoke with Pam Lawrence, the executive director of McKenzie Personnel Systems in Springfield, which helps people with disabilities find jobs and housing. She has been working with people with disabilities for more than 20 years.

Lawrence said it was disheartening to hear about the Brantons’ story and hopes people can be more considerate.

"I feel like the community needs a little bit more education on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Lawrence said. “I feel if they would understand individuals with communication styles they might have a different outlook on folks who are out in the community."

As of Tuesday, Branton’s initial post has received more than 9,000 reactions and 11,000 shares on Facebook. That got the attention of Edward Schiessl who co-owns the Broadway Metro movie theater in downtown Eugene, which is planning on hosting a private screening for the Brantons and their family and friends.

"When I saw the post about Sam’s experience at Cinemark, I thought we at the Broadway Metro could try to make it up to him on behalf of our community, and independent movie theaters in general,” Schiessl said in a statement to KEZI. “That's not how it's supposed to be, and we want to set an example, not about tolerance, but about inclusion."

The private screening is at 2 p.m. at Broadway Metro for Sam’s family and friends.

If you want to meet Sam and wish him a happy belated birthday, you can show up at the theater at 1:30 p.m.

KEZI reached out to the Branton family. They didn't want to talk but said they appreciate all the support.

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