Published Aug 09, 2017Earlier this year, the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, caused quite a stir when it announced a series of Wonder Woman screenings for women only. It was a tongue-in-cheek bit of marketing that garnered plenty of support (including daps from Don Cheadle), but it may not have been worth it. After all, the theatre has now offered settlements to two men who claim the screenings were discriminatory.
According to the Austin-American Statesman, the theatre has found itself in some legal trouble thanks to two complainants, who argue that the screenings were discriminatory. The men, an Albany law professor named Stephen Clark and another unidentified man, have had a very minor victory as the Alamo Drafthouse has offered a settlement.
In a settlement offer from Alamo's director of real estate and development Missy Reynolds, the company acknowledged that the screening was "a violation of Austin's equality laws."
Here's the relevant passages from Reynolds' statement:
1) Respondent [Alamo Drafthouse] greatly underestimated the popularity of these screenings, including the good and bad fan comments.
2) Respondent 'advertised' the event as women's-only. Respondent did not realize that advertising a 'women's-only' screening was a violation of discrimination laws. Respondent has a very strict non-discrimination policy in place, but this policy did NOT include a specific prohibition against advertising.
One complainant offered to settle the whole thing for $8,892 USD, which is approximately three times the amount of income that the theatre made from the women-only screenings of the film. Instead, the Drafthouse has hilariously offered both men a free copy of Wonder Woman on DVD, along with a promise to update their discrimination policy to align with Austin's laws.
The settlement offer is part of an informal back-and-forth exchange allowed under Austin's city code. If they can't come to an agreement with the theatre chain, the complainants could decide to go ahead with a full legal investigation. And we have a feeling that a Wonder Woman DVD won't be enough to quell their complaining.
Stay tuned for more from this case as it unfolds.