Moviegoers report that a Showcase Cinemas in Warwick, Rhode Island refused to turn on the captions for a screening of Beauty and the Beast so that deaf and hard of hearing patrons could follow the film.
According to the Associated Press, 18 hearing impaired people attempted to see Beauty and the Beast on Saturday. The group’s organizer, Tom Riker, explained that upon arrival, they asked for captioning. However, one of Showcase’s managers declined to accommodate them, arguing that activating the captions would be unfair to the other audience members.
Realizing that the necessary adjustments would not be made, the group decided to leave. Riker tells the AP that they would like state lawmakers to approve legislation—apparently pending—that would require specific theaters to make accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing patrons.
The theater is owned by National Amusements, a Massachusetts-based company. They have not yet issued any statement.