UPDATE: Cinemark responds to Huntington theater asking special-needs family to leave

By  | 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - UPDATE: 8/9/2018

The owner of the Huntington Mall movie theater that asked a special needs girl and her family to leave has released a statement on the incident.

Saturday, the family of 12-year-old Charlie Davis went to the theater to see "Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom."

Charlie suffers from Shaken Baby Syndrome, which left her blind, quadriplegic and makes it hard for her to breathe.

The family says a manager told them to leave during the movie because patrons complained about Charlie's loud breathing.

In a statement, Cinemark says the family was asked to leave, and says the theater manager offered them a full refund and a private screening of the movie.

But Cinemark says the family refused both of those options and left the theater.


ORIGINAL STORY: 8/8/2018

A family says they were asked to leave a Huntington, W.Va. movie theater after a patron complained about the loud breathing of 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.