Mom, son with autism thrown out of NJ theater

HAZLET, N.J. (WPIX) – A New Jersey family is suing a movie theater chain after the mother and her son, who has autism, were thrown out.

Their offense? The mother took her son into the women’s restroom when he needed to go to the bathroom.

“All this time, it was humiliating and scary for my son,” Christine Gallinaro, of Holmdel, told WPIX.

It was supposed to be a fun trip to the movies for Gallinaro and her 15-year-old son, John.

Gallinaro‘s husband wasn’t with them, so when John, who is nonverbal, had to go to the bathroom, she took him into the ladies’ room at Cinemark‘s Hazlet 12. There was no family restroom.

Gallinaro said no one in the ladies’ room complained. She said many understood that her son has special needs and needed an adult to help him. But the theater manager let her and her son know she disapproved.

“I asked her if there was a problem. I explained that he was disabled, and she said a grown man should not be in this bathroom,” Gallinaro said.

Gallinaro said the manager called security and then the police to eject them from the movie theater. On the cellphone video, Gallinaro said it was clear to her that the security and police were sympathetic to her plight.

The Gallinaros filed a lawsuit last week against the movie theater chain.

“What happened that day was unlawful, wrong, and bizarre,” said Austin Tobin, the Gallinaro family’s lawyer.

“Since this happened and has been made public, there has been an overwhelming response of support, particularly from mothers of disabled children,” Gallinaro said.

A few days after the June 16 incident, Gallinaro said the movie theater regional manager reached out to offer a refund, but the mother said the humiliation was too great.

WPIX contacted the movie theater for comment on the allegations but did not receive a response. Mom, son with autism thrown out of NJ theater

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