The heartbroken mother of a teenager with autism is suing Cinemark after the theater manager allegedly forced them to leave.
Christine Gallinaro and her son John, 15, bought tickets to watch Disney’s Elemental at the Cinemark Theater in New Jersey.
Her suit stated that she brought her son into the women’s restroom as there were no family restrooms at the venue.
While John was washing his hands, the theater manager allegedly stormed into the restroom and ‘harassed’ him, forcing them to leave and called the police on them.
Gallinaro argued that Cinemark violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, claiming employees ‘intentionally or recklessly committed acts of omissions producing emotional distress’ to her son.
Speaking to Today, the mother said: “My son can, to a certain degree, function, but he needs supervision due to his motor-planning skills and spatial awareness.”
Gallinaro explained that her husband usually accompany their son into a public men’s bathroom but because it was just the two of them and there was no family restroom available, she accompanied her son into the women’s restroom.
“Nobody has ever given me a hard time about it because I am with him the whole time,” she added.
The frustrated mom also said that when she brought her son into the restroom, other women understood the situation immediately.
“Right away, they see he’s with me. They pick up why he’s in the bathroom with me,” she told NJ.com, adding that one woman even smiled at her.
Gallinaro also claimed that the theater manager shouted discriminatory words, including that a ‘grown’ man should not be in the ladies’ restroom and ‘this is not a transgender bathroom.’
The manager allegedly called police and that’s when the mother started to film the confrontation.
In the video, Gallinaro could be heard telling a police officer that her son “has autism and I’m not putting him in a bathroom by himself,” to which the officer replied that he “couldn’t agree more.”
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