ACLU challenges Emagine's 18 and under rules

- It just opened in Birmingham, but a new movie theater is already under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is accusing the theater of discriminating against teenagers from poor and middle class families.

The Emagine Palladium theater opened recently to glowing reviews, including by FOX 2.

It is clean and swanky, but a theater policy which might be called "no teenage ruffians allowed" is drawing fire.

"Under Michigan law public accommodations, businesses that are open to the public can't discriminate against people based on age," said Dan Korobkin, deputy legal director of the ACLU.

Korobkin showed a letter he and the ACLU of Michigan emailed and snail-mailed to Emagine Theatres CEO Paul Glantz. It addressed specifically the theater's "no one under 18 allowed unless with parent or guardian policy."

"We pointed out that what the movie theater is doing is unlawful under Michigan law," Korobkin said. "Everyone knows what the possible consequences to breaking the law." 

State law prohibits age discrimination in a place of public accommodation.

Korobkin further points out the loophole in Emagine’ s own policy, the one that allows under 18 year olds without supervision provided they are in the so-called Platinum Club. The annual cost is $350.
See the problem?

Korobkin does.

"This sends the message that young people from wealthy backgrounds can be trusted on the premises of a movie theater," he said. "But younger people from less affluent backgrounds, they are not welcome."

FOX 2 news tried reaching Glantz for comment just hours after he would have received the ACLU's email, but have not heard back.

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