Age Discrimination at Movie Theater

November 18, 2015

The Emagine movie theater in Birmingham wanted to create an “upscale” atmosphere.  After an incident in which a group of teenagers became loud during a movie and were asked to leave, the theater’s owner announced a ban on all teenagers—unless they were accompanied by their parents or their family paid a pricey $350 “membership” fee.  But Michigan’s public accommodations law prohibits discrimination based on age, which includes discrimination against youth as well as discrimination against the elderly.  The ACLU of Michigan wrote a letter to the theater’s owner, explaining that the new policy violated state law and also sent the wrong message about stereotyping and income inequality.  In response, Emagine agreed to change its policy and no longer bans youth.

 (ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin; Cooperating Attorney Gillian Talwar.)