By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
“The Butler” managed to top the box office in its opening weekend, but the Lee Daniels directed film which stars Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker and Terrence Howard is making headlines for another reason that isn’t so positive. Many made their way to theaters across the country to see the film which is generating plenty of Oscar buzz, but a certain movie theater is now the subject of controversy after a woman took to Twitter to slam the establishment for allegedly being racist to the movie’s mostly black audience. According to Tiffany Flowers, the Regal Cinemas in Silver Spring, Maryland took its security measures to the extreme and had what she felt was way too much police involvement at the showing she and a friend attended.
According to Flowers, the mostly black audience had to have their movie tickets checked twice: once when they entered the theater and once again when they were met by a police officer who was directing their moves upon entrance to the film.
Interestingly enough, she also claims the police presence didn’t stop there considering the theater had armed police officers facing the audience as they watched the movie. She tweets:
I’d like to take this time to express my utter disgust with @RegalMovies cinema in Silver Spring, MD. You all should stay away from here.
@hanson_alan and I went to see #TheButler @RegalMovies last night and let me tell you what an unpleasant experience it was…
Then as soon as we enter the theater we were greeted by an actual police officer who herded traffic in one direction. @RegalMovies
Once we get around the corner and start looking for seats we see yet another police office inside the theater facing patrons. @RegalMovies
This was our first (and final) trip @regalmovies but we were told that this is completely out of the ordinary. #TheButler
The almost entirely black audience of #TheButler was subjected to watching the film while armed guards faced the audience. Why? @RegalMovies
Once Tiffany’s unhappiness with the theater began to pick up lots of steam in the media, Regal Cinemas released a statement suggesting Tiffany’s experience was standard practice when any movie is sold out. Tiffany even confirmed on Twitter the manager of the particular theater she attended told her the same:
I spoke to Akiem (manager @RegalMovies). He informed me that all big selling movies have this type of crowd control. #TheButler
Tiffany isn’t buying the theater’s excuse and says she thinks it’s just their form of damage control:
It seems to me that @RegalMovies knows that it has some explaining to do and now they are trying to create a defense. @magnoliax