Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes tics, involuntary sounds, and movements. Nine people who were unaware of her condition complained to the theatre's management about her involuntary tics.
Emily Womack, a fifteen-year-old girl was recently asked to leave the movie theatre because of the involuntary noises she kept making in the due course of the film. Turns out this teen was suffering from a condition called Tourette syndrome. It's a neurological disorder that causes tics, involuntary sounds, and movements. These are usually expressed in the form of movements, words, or sounds and she tried her best to suppress it.
Her family decided to visit the Oklahoma-based AMC movie theatre in order to watch Avengers Endgame and unfortunately they weren't allowed to. According to BBC News, Emily had no intention of disturbing others. "I was releasing my tics before the movie started so that during the movie I wouldn't be ticking because I like to enjoy the movie too, I don't wanna scream," she assured.
She made sure to arrive early and "release her tics" in order to comply with the theatre's policy that "there are no disruptive noises during the movie". Emily continues that she was able to suppress her ticks by releasing them in quick succession for a short period of time. But the cinema authorities remained ignorant of her condition and asked her to leave.
While others chose to forget about it. Emily didn't. She couldn't believe how unaware people are about this condition and decided to post a video on the Facebook page, Tourette Association of America. During an interview with BBC Emily's mom, Tina recalled how her family was seated in the hall enjoying the trailers when the theatre manager approached them. "He informed me that nine people had complained about Emily's noises. I explained that she would suppress the noise during the show and there was nothing to worry about, as it was something she does during every movie she goes to," she explained.
Despite hearing about the teenager's condition the manager hinted that they should leave. "They told me that they can't tell us to leave but that it would be best if we did. I refused," she continued. However, Emily's symptoms were getting worse by the second especially after learning about the complaints says, Tina. That's when her family decided to leave the place for the sake of their daughter.
When questioned about the same AMC stated the specific theatre chain was offered to stay and watch the film along with an invitation the see it at a less crowded time. They said, "In no way did AMC kick out the guest or family, nor was anyone made to leave. The family initially chose to stay in the movie. Shortly after the movie started, the family chose to leave." Apparently, the manager went ahead and offered the family several passes along with a few popcorn coupons for their return visit added the statement.
Of course, Tina did not buy this statement and believed they discriminated against her due to her disability. "This was a crowded theatre where people where laughing loudly, talking loudly, and even kids throwing popcorn and being disruptive, But Emily was picked out of all them, solely due to her disability," Tina said. Emily also expressed her dismay as people decided to talk to the manager instead of speaking with her directly.
"I'd appreciate it if in the future somebody could talk to my parents or talk to me before going to the manager. I wasn't even given the chance to watch the movie," she said in the video. Finally, she ended the video saying, "Thank you for listening to me, and I hope in the future people can understand I don't mean to cause harm to anyone. I really would just like a chance in the future to live normally."
This Facebook post was watched over 51,000 times and opened a gateway for others to share their stories. "The request to leave created an environment where Emily and her family felt they were unwelcome as a result of her disability - a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act," said the CEO and President of the Association Amanda Talty. "Offering movie passes and popcorn will not erase the embarrassment and shame one feels in situations like this," she added. "Sadly, this is a story we in the Tourette Syndrome community know all too well and this moment will stay with Emily for the rest of her life."