Lawsuit filed against AMC Theatres over broken audio description headsets

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Lawsuit filed against AMC over broken audio description headsets
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A class action lawsuit was filed against AMC for not having audio description headsets so that the blind can still enjoy a movie.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- A national movie theater chain is under fire by blind customers for not allowing them to enjoy movies. The suit was filed in San Francisco on Tuesday.

It used to be up to family members or friends to whisper into the ears of blind people to describe scene changes or body language that dialogue doesn't convey, but technology was supposed to change all of that. The nationwide class action lawsuit, however, claims AMC's devices frequently don't work.

Moviegoers shelled out $11 billion at the box office last year, not including money spent on popcorn, candy and drinks.

RELATED: Read complaint of class action lawsuit filed against AMC (PDF)

"We all want to have the same experience, the same escapism, the same access to entertainment," class action lawsuit plaintiff Scott Blanks said.

However, that hasn't happened at the AMC Theatres Scott Blanks has patronized in San Francisco and the East Bay.

The special audio description headsets have failed consistently for several years, leaving Blanks disappointed and frustrated when he went to a movie with his sons.

"I wasn't able to communicate with my boys, Zachary and Elliott, about what was happening for the remainder of the film or afterwards so much because I missed out on a great deal of the action in a film that is not exactly heavy on dialogue," Blanks said.

AMC promotes its audio description technology online. And here's an example of what a blind person hears during a scene with no words: "Two scientists stand before a flask of orange liquid. One tries to pour a test tube of green liquid in, but the liquid doesn't move."

A class action lawsuit has been filed against AMC on behalf of five individuals and two advocacy groups. But only after attorney Michael Nunez sent letters to the theater chain, urging it to get staff to maintain the equipment.

"AMC by and large has the technology in many of its theaters and needs to go that extra mile to take those last steps to insure that it's actually effectively provided to blind movie-goers," Blanks' attorney Michael Nunez said.

ABC7 News reached out to AMC corporate offices, but did not get a response.

Click here to read the complaint.