A world famous Texas cinema chain with a zero tolerance policy towards anti-social filmgoers has "banned" Madonna from all its screens after she was reportedly caught texting during a screening of 12 Years A Slave at the New York film festival.
The singer is reported to have spent much of the premiere, at the Walter Reade Theater in New York's Lincoln Center, for Steve McQueen's Oscar-tipped tale of a free black man sold into slavery in the antebellum south tapping away on her Blackberry, much to the annoyance of other filmgoers. When one woman tapped her on the shoulder and requested the singer stop, Madonna is reported to have remarked: "It's for business … enslaver!" and continued texting away.
Now the Alamo Drafthouse, which is known for its strict policy towards unruly customers, has taken the largely symbolic step of banning the singer from all its premises. "Until she apologizes to movie fans, Madonna is banned from watching movies," tweeted co-founder and CEO Tim League. He later told Entertainment Weekly that while his promises initially manifested as an "offhand joke, a spur of the moment 140 characters" and was "more of a means to get the issue out there, that it is rude to text during movies," he was remained determined to stick to his guns. "Now that it seems to have taken hold, sure, I'm going to enforce it," he said. "I'm serious, but I don't think it really affects her life that much."
Alamo Drafthouse, a chain of boutique cinemas famous for its provision of food and alcoholic beverages to cineastes, screens anti-texting adverts prior to films. One famous example features an answerphone message apparently recorded by an unhappy customer who was ejected for irritating other filmgoers during a screening.
Twelve Years a Slave stars McQueen's fellow Briton Chiwetel Ejiofor as a real historical figure named Solomon Northup whose 1853 autobiography details the free New Yorker's capture by slavers in Washington DC in 1841 and his subsequent travails on the plantations of Louisiana. The drama won enthusiastic reviews and the influential People's Choice prize at the Toronto film festival in September. It is amongst the early frontrunners for Oscars glory next March.
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image: © David Shankbone