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Friday, July 22, 2016

All media hell broke loose

Image credit 7NEWS


Never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story as our local rag, The Bay Post - suggested byline 'totally absorbing if put to its only fit and proper use' - , had an absolute field day when three-year-old cancer-stricken Addison was turned away from the local Bay City Cinemas because she was wearing a backpack allegedly filled with medication.


Image credit 7NEWS

It must have been a slow day in the media because even the Sydney Morning Herald ran with the same story almost word for word.

But that was just the start of it. A barrage of thousands of social media threats followed. Here are just three of the least offensive:

"My 4 year nice (sic) has Cancer and wanted to celebrate her freedom by by (sic) going to the movies with her family."

"So now we have a very upset 3 year old child who all she wanted to do with her first Days of freedom after three months in isolation was to go to the movies and we can’t because the manages are insensitive A**HOLES."

"You probably shouldn't be in a customer service industry, may you should sell up and move on to something you're better suited to, like say running an asylum detention centre where being mean and cruel is seen as an asset."

And here is what REALLY happened:

Statement by Bay City Cinemas 20 July 2016

"Bay City Cinemas would like to release the below statement in relation to an incident that occurred on Friday 15th July 2016.

In the morning of Friday 15th July 2016, a gentleman accompanied by two boys approached the ticket counter of Bay City Cinemas. The gentleman requested five tickets to Ice Age.

The gentleman was advised in accordance with Cinema policy, he would not be able to take his backpack into the cinema. The gentleman advised staff that the bag contained medication, (at no time were any other contents of the bag mentioned).

Cinema staff informed the gentleman that he was able to take the medication into the cinema and offered to place the bag into the cloak room which he would have access to, if he was not comfortable with this option they could offer him a full refund.

The gentleman requested a full refund which was given, cinema staff apologised for any inconvenience.

As the gentleman was walking away, he turned to staff and said words to the effect “My daughter has cancer” then continued walking out the door before cinema staff were able to reply (at no time prior were any staff of Bay City Cinemas made aware of any medical conditions.)

This incident was captured on Cinema CCTV.

A short time later, cinema staff received a phone call from a lady who advised that she was the relative of the child in question. After a short conversation this call was terminated by cinema staff when the lady became abusive, cursed and accused staff of refusing entry to their family. It was later established that the lady was not present in the cinema during the incident.

Shortly after, Bay City Cinema staff were made aware of a derogatory Facebook post, posted by a member of the family which received thousands of negative feedback from a one sided story.

An hour after this occurred; Bay City Cinemas were contacted by a local media outlet who asked for a comment in relation to the incident. The above was relayed to the reporter.

Later that day local media released a media report. The contents of that media release were incorrect and the comments that cinema staff made were not published correctly. This media post was later removed by the editor.

Since the incident, Bay City Cinemas Management has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to contact the family involved, leaving several voice messages.

The misreported facts by members of the family, local and national media who were not present during the incident has overnight destroyed Bay City Cinemas. Due to threats against family, staff and patrons of Bay City Cinemas, it’s with great sadness that we wish to advise that Bay City Cinemas will not be re-opening its doors.

Bay City Cinemas has been a local business for over 15 years, in which that time has conducted numerous fundraisers raising much needed funding for members of the community suffering medical conditions.

Bay City Cinemas would like to thank the dedicated work of its staff members, the ongoing support over the last 15 years from local businesses and the Community of Batemans Bay.

At present Bay City Cinemas will be making no further comment on this matter."

Well, since then the cinema's website has gone off air and the cinema has closed its doors - permanently! - and the silent majority, those of us who accept the rules for what they are and abide by them, have lost the only cinema in town. Not to mention the owners who've lost their livelihood and several casual staff who've lost their jobs. For what?

Perhaps little Addison, when she grows up and wants her boyfriend to take her to the pictures, will remember the day when her parents unleashed this tsunami of misinformation and hate mail that destroyed a local business which was struggling to give the community a much-needed service.