9 Comments

  • Accommodating most disabilities largely does not impact the delivery of a performance to most patrons. Mobility impaired, visually impaired, hearing impaired, etc. all receive some service from the venue, at some cost and hassle factor, but the customers receiving these accommodations largely do not make demands of fellow patrons that impacts everyones enjoryment.

    The behaviorally disabled however do impact the experience of a show for everyone else. Indeed, this mother might be the first to complain about cellophane wrapped candy eaters(diabetics you know) if her kid flips out at either the sound of the wrapper or the thought of a tasty treat.

    It’s gee-whiz great if a production wishes to accommodate by offering a show in which no one will be ushered to the door. Just forewarn everyone buying that show that all behaviors will be tolerated, even those that make your kid escalate. Then too accommodate all sensory sensitive guests by having the lighting not too bright, yet not too low, not flashing, sound muted, no rapid or startling motions by the actors… well then you don’t have a production at all.
    Once everyone is special, then no one is special.

    • Some movie theaters already do this. See AMC with their Sensory Friendly Films or Alamo with Alamo for All. They pick a few screenings (usually out of the way times like Tuesday matinees), turn up the lights, turn down the sound, and relax the rules, and yes, people are forewarned that this will happen and can plan accordingly. Several Broadway shows have also done it too, designating a single performance as Autism friendly.

      It’s totally possible. That doesn’t, of course, mean that theaters should be required to do this as a matter of law, but it really does work.

  • When my wife was pregnant, she was so sensitive to smell that we could not enter the mall via any route that passed a makeup/perfume department. How could this possibly be accommodated?

    The demand that a special production be put on for behavioral disability persons is simply impossible. Different disabilities will conflict. But more seriously, who will pay for it? Everyone is demanding OTHERS spend money for their benefit. While it is sad that some people are disabled, not all problems are fixable. It reminds me of the EEOC demanding that a company accommodate a behavioral disorder where the employee lashed out at other employees or where a deaf person insisted on running the cash register.

    • my favorite was the case where a person who was both blind and deaf was suing a movie theater for not providing him with an “interpreter”.

  • There are not blind airline pilots for a reason.

    • Yes, but Sutton v. UAL begot the ADAAA – which just boggles the mind. BTW, there is a small 1st amendment problem with requiring a revised “performance” for the disabled.

  • yeah, it’s just so much cheaper to shove them in a corner and forget about them, at least that way they aren’t taxpayers and have expectations for their governments… But hmmmm, they bought a ticket??? No way!
    So, audio description allows commuters to enjoy a movie on netflix by listening to it while they drive to work? Wonder where that tech came from… Ditto talking books as they were called in the early 1900’s before services like audible decided that yeah, that’s a good business idea… Some of today’s accommodations may end up being next week’s/month’s/year’s/decade’s business for everybody. Okay many won’t be, but can you tell one from the other at it’s origin?
    I pay enough in taxes to send a ssi/ssdi check to a couple blind folks, isn’t that a better alternative than having me in a corner somewhere? Not to mention I get to read this site and annoy the other commenters. πŸ˜€

    • “So, audio description allows commuters to enjoy a movie on netflix by listening to it while they drive to work?”

      I’ve never listened to something like that. Is it:

      1. Just the sound track from the film with no extra scenic description?

      Or

      2. Sound track + additional description of scenes.

      For 1 any blind person can pay for a ticket and sit in a theater and get exactly the same experience no accommodation required.

      In either case, but especially 2. As a matter of copyright law, this can only be done by the studio without special license agreements. In reality, those tapes/CDs are produced by the movie studio, but only AFTER the movie has completed it’s theater run, usually well after.

      Movie theaters get nearly all of their profits from concession sales. They actually make very little money on ticket sales. There is no way any theater can profitably produce a separate soundtrack to accommodate the blind. If it’s not economical, it is NOT a reasonable accommodation.

      • Not true Matt, the audio description track is just another “language track” for the movie, and is typically available at time of release. There are actually theaters that wirelessly broadcast the alternative language track with the descriptions for their visually impaired customers. Also, hollywood typically burns dvd’s as a part of creating the movie since they are using digital distribution to theaters nowadays, not actual “film”. And they can submit that dvd to the screeners for the oscars and the like… As indicated above, the audio described track is simply another language track on the disk.
        Are all movies audio described? No. Is audio description required by the FCC? Yes, but once again it’s not 100% currently. Typically audio description is a minor expense in comparison to paying all the professionals required to make a movie, most of which are unionized… The profit for the theater may be in concessions, but the profit for those who made the movie is ticket sales, licensing, and of course dvd/video sales since the theaters do not “share” their concessions income… πŸ˜€ The theaters do not pay the expenses for creating the audio description, since what they pay for a movie doesn’t change whether or not it is audio described. The additional cost, if any for the equipment used to broadcast and receive the audio description track is born by the theater, just like projection equipment, speakers, location, seats, staff, etc, etc, etc… Most venues will only have one room which is audio described thereby limiting expense and of course narrowing choice, but a limited choice is better than no choice. But hey, if they want to save money while serving any visually impaired customers, they can skip the screen and projection equipment… I mean, those are only good for serving photonically dependant customers…