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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Deaf moviegoers sue Cinemark

Author Topic: Deaf moviegoers sue Cinemark
Robert Crabtree
New Member

Posts: 20
From: Tampa, FL
Registered: Nov 2009

 - posted December 02, 2010 07:53 AM      Profile for Robert Crabtree   Email Robert Crabtree         Edit/Delete Post 
According to this article , Cinemark is the defendant in a lawsuit over lack of captioning in its theaters.

If the article is correct that at the time of the suit, there were no captioned shows offered at a single location, then it would appear Cinemark has slapped together a "pilot program of appeasement". They now boast offering Devil and My Soul to Take with captions in a few locations.

On the one hand, I'm definitely appalled at such limited offerings for deaf patrons (2 out of date horror flicks? REALLY?), and would think it simple good business sense to put such equipment in large/busy locations.

On the other...I don't believe ADA makes any stipulations about captioning. And lack of captioning doesn't constitute the same burden/safety hazard that early stadium builds posed for folks in wheelchairs. The suit originates from a heavily populated area in California, where there exist options for captioned shows.

Also, Cinemark is not alone in not providing captioning. A casual search of Carmike and Dickinson locations turned up no locations with captioned offerings. RAVE lists that some locations have "Hearing Impaired Technology" and assisted listening devices, I couldn't find evidence that these two amenities are on and the same, so I'd add them to that list as well.

My own position is that Cinemark is perfectly within its rights to lose deaf/HOH customers to other chains or Blockbuster, and I'm a bit uncomfortable with the prospects of a ruling to require it (depending on how such a ruling is derived and articulated). But as deaf folk, and disabled folk in general, tend to be at the receiving end of policies of what I call "benign negligence", I can't say I'm not slightly pleased at a public airing of non-accommodation.

Anyone know anything differently, or have their own two cents to throw in?

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John J. Fink

Posts: 123
From: Buffalo, NY
Registered: Aug 2005

 - posted December 02, 2010 07:57 PM      Profile for John J. Fink   Author's Homepage   Email John J. Fink         Edit/Delete Post 
I know there were a few chains that installed MOPIX which is a system where an LED board in the rear of the theatre provide text, and the patron uses a reflector to read the text. I've seen one open captioned print, I assume with digital there are more cheap options for open captioning (in fact perhaps a subtitled file could be accessed/played at the request of a patron). I've also seen Spanish language subtitled prints in certain neighborhoods.

I'm not 100% sure if ADA requires it, I know the DOJ in some states accepted chains installing MOPIX/Rear Window Captioning in certain sites (most chains operating in NJ have RWC theaters). My personal view is RWC should be offered in at least one auditorium, even if I've never seen a patron using it, my other view is no one should be subjected to Devil and My Soul To Take, that's just cruel and unusual punishment.

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