(NEW YORK) — A New York moviegoer said he was escorted out of a neighborhood theater by police for bringing a contraband carton of strawberries into the theater.
Michael Kass, a father of three from the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, said he went to the Pavilion movie theater to kill a few hours after dropping his kids off at a birthday party last Sunday afternoon. Kass, 41, said he is a type 2 diabetic and wanted to enjoy a healthy snack during the showing so he bought a carton of strawberries from a local market.
After buying his ticket, Kass tried to enter the theater but was told he would have to throw out the food since no outside food is allowed. Kass said he didn’t want to throw out the food so he asked for a refund, but was denied.
Kass said he also explained to the management he was a diabetic and that he didn’t want any of the snacks offered at the concession stand. “The bottom line is I don’t eat the crap they serve at the movie theater. I try to eat healthy,” said Kass.
The Pavilion theater owner, Ben Kasash, told ABC News they do have a policy not to allow outside food, but that there should have been an exception if Kass said he was diabetic. Kasash said the theater would have given Kass a refund if he asked, although Kass said he had asked both the ticket taker and the manager for a refund but was denied.
“The manager said the same thing. ‘You’ll have to leave’…or they’ll call the police. I didn’t actually think they’d do it,” said Kass. “I said something to the effect of, ‘Do what you got to do.’”
Kass eventually decided to go into the theater with the contraband strawberries, ignoring the manager. However, during the previews the theater manager and two police officers showed up to escort Kass out of the theater. Kass said he never even opened the strawberry carton.
“Honestly what I would like out of this is I would like an apology and I would like a change in policy. That’s where it ends,” said Kass.
Kass then left a lengthy negative review in a post on the theater’s Facebook page that at least 130 people liked as of Friday morning.
Theater owner Kasash said that Kass never mentioned to theater management that he was diabetic and that they would have offered him a refund if they wanted it. However, Kasash also said the theater’s actions in calling the police were extreme and reached out to Kass on Facebook to apologize and offer free screening passes for him and his family.
“I understand there seems to be a customer service issue,” Kasash told ABC News. “We have hired a theater management company to help us revamp the theater to address the issues and to help with the customer service.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Julie Wootton, Times-News