When Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, advertised women-only screenings of “Wonder Woman,” it unsurprisingly received polarized reactions.
Feminists on Twitter were over the moon about it, while others decried the screening as sexist.
The theater seemed to side with the former, going forward with the showings and making light of the negative Facebook comments.
On Twitter, one detractor's tweet denounced the women-only screening as “discrimination based on sex” and said, “I hope someone sues.”
The user's wish came true when the city received two legal complaints against the theater chain filed by Albany Law School professor Steven Clarke and an anonymous man.
In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Clarke said, “I'm a specialist in anti-discrimination law, so I was fairly certain that this was not lawful.” Clarke, a gay man, added, “If they were trying to do a gay-only 'Brokeback Mountain,' I would feel the same way.”
Austin's city code forbids discrimination in public accommodations with regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, or disability. On July 18, Alamo Drafthouse admitted in a letter to the city of Austin that it “did not realize that advertising a 'women-only' screening was a violation of discrimination laws.”
The letter also contained a settlement offer that included free “Wonder Woman” DVDs to the plaintiffs and assurance that Alamo Drafthouse would update its discrimination policy. However, the theater refused to forfeit its earnings from the screenings, some of which was donated to the League of Women's Voters.
According to The Daily Caller, if a settlement is not reached through the city's back-and-forth process, the city may investigate and, if necessary, prosecute Alamo Drafthouse.
This development appears to have given some Twitter users vindication and ammunition in chiding Alamo Drafthouse. They range from demanding a public apology to just rubbing salt in the wound: