GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A national theater chain is apologizing and its CEO will meet with a well-known civil rights activist and church leader after he was kicked out of their Greenville movie theater.
Greenville police confirm that officers were called to the AMC Fire Tower 12 around 3:20 p.m. Tuesday for a trespassing call.
Lt. Justin Wooten says the two officers were there for a customer arguing with staff.
That customer was Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP from 2006 until 2017.
Wooten says Barber left the theatre with no issues and there were no arrests.
Barber, who leads the congregation at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, told WITN he was at the theatre to see the movie, “The Color Purple,” with his elderly mother.
He says he has a medical condition, making it impossible for him to sit in a regular chair due to pain in his hips. Barber walks with two canes, and his assistant carries a special chair so he can sit everywhere he goes.
Barber tells WITN that he tried to use the special chair in the handicapped section of the theater, and he was told by staff he couldn’t do that.
In a statement, AMC apologized to Barber for the way he was treated. “AMC’s Chairman and CEO Adam Aron has already telephoned him, and plans to meet with him in person in Greenville, NC, next week to discuss both this situation and the good works Bishop Barber is engaged in throughout the years,” the statement reads.
WITN is told Barber is holding a press conference Friday at noon in Greenville.
AMC says it welcomes guests with disabilities, and it encourages customers who require special seating to speak with a manager in advance. “We are also reviewing our policies with our theater teams to help ensure that situations like this do not occur again,” the theater chain said.