Paragon Theaters At Delray Marketplace Accused Of Discriminating Against Hearing Impaired

Delray Beach Florida News Palm Beach County

But Theater Chain Says It Was Just Human Error…

Federal Law Requires Theater To Provide Closed Captioning Device. Manager Told Hearing Impaired Man To Go Away.

Paragon Theaters in Delray Beach is accused of discriminating against the hearing impaired. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The father of a hearing impaired man who relies on closed captioning devices to view — and understand — movies says that Paragon Theaters in Delray Marketplace discriminated against his son Wednesday night. The man and his son hoped to see the blockbuster ”Nope,” but ”nope” is apparently what they were told by the theater when they asked for an assistive device.

We are not identifying the man who has a cochlear implant. His father says they have never experienced anything like what they felt was discrimination at Paragon Wednesday night.

”We bought tickets online and were excited to see ”Nope,” said the man’s father who asked BocaNewsNow.com for help. ”We got to the theater and asked for a closed captioning device. The ticket counter worker told us they were all broken and there was nothing he could, or would, do. I asked to speak to the manager. The man said ‘I am the manager’ and suggested we go somewhere else.”

Jared Comess, spokesperson for the national Paragon Theater Group, said there absolutely was an issue, but it wasn’t discrimination. In an interview with BocaNewsNow.com, he said Paragon is facing the same employe training and retention issues that many companies are facing.

“We had the devices but they were not charged,” said Comess. “They absolutely should have been charged and we have had several discussions with managers ever since you brought this to our attention.”

Example of a closed caption device for movie theaters, courtesy ClassicCinemas.com. The words appear on the small device an be attached to a seat.

Comess said the family seeking the device was given the option of coming back in a few hours after the devices were charged, or coming back on another day. He said they were also given several free passes. Paragon, said Comess, “is absolutely compliant” with the Americans With Disabilities act.

“We had a company-wide call with our (theater) general managers Thursday morning,” said Comess. “We completely appreciate that this should not have happened.” He said each theater was told to always have the devices charged and ready to be used.

Movie theaters are required to have functioning closed caption devices for guests as part of an update to the Americans with Disabilities Act. BocaNewsNow.com obtained a document from the National Association of Theater Owners announcing the mandate which took effect in January, 2016. We are publishing the full document, below. The Department of Justice rule states that theaters must properly maintain their devices.

”Theaters must “properly maintain” CC and AD devices so that the devices are fully operational, available in a timely manner, and easily usable,” wrote the Justice Department. ”CC devices must be adjustable and must provide clear, sharp images to ensure readability. Theater owners should note that proper device maintenance has been the subject of a number of cases.”

FAQ-on-DOJ-CC-and-AD-Rule

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