15 women say they were disturbed several times by employees who demanded to review their tickets and seat assignments
AMC Theaters has fired three of its employees after 15 members of an African American women’s group claimed they were racially profiled during a screening of the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, in Louisiana.
The group 504 Queens said that during a Nov. 7 showing of the historical drama about the famous slave-turned-abolitionist at the AMC Clearview Palace 12 in Metairie, they were disturbed several times by employees who demanded to review their tickets and seat assignments, Variety reported.
In a letter the organization’s lawyer sent to AMC (and obtained by NBC affiliate WDSU), the women detail the alleged incident. While the film was rolling, the letter says, the women were racially profiled as three employees, including a kitchen staff member, came into the theater, turned the lights off and on and questioned the 504 Queens members.
They claim that after members of the nonprofit told AMC management what happened, they were offered free movie tickets, which they turned down as they did not want to return to the theater after their experience.
“It was like the 1800s coming back to my face in 2019,” said member Sandra Gordon an interview with WDSU.
In the letter, the group asked that AMC fire the employees involved in the incident; give free Harriet tickets to surrounding high school students for educational purposes; provide mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training for the AMC theater staff; and issue a formal apology to the 504 Queens.
The members also asked that AMC give 200 movie passes to the charity so that they may take young girls to the movies and donate all the profits from the Clearview theater’s Black Friday sale to 504 Queens.
AMC’s senior vice president Kevin Connor agreed to the conditions in a response letter to the 504 Queen, adding that the company had fired the three accused employees. He described AMC’s actions as “healing” in the letter.
AMC Theaters did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Harriet is in theaters nationwide now.