One of our members, Mrs. India Rahman, has reported that the manager of your Omaha, NE theatre, Luther Bass, insulted her, in front of her children, because of her religion. She is Muslim and was dressed as such when she entered your theatre. She was told that she could not take her bag or water into the theatre because of security reasons. She explained that because she is diabetic and pregnant, she needs her water at all times. Also, her bag contained some diabetic supplies that she wanted with her in case of a medical emergency. Despite these facts, she was not allowed to bring the purse into the theatre. Mrs. Rahman reported to us that she would have been willing to have her bag searched, however, Mr. Bass was so rude and insulting that she, instead, requested her money back. Before this, Mr. Bass accused her of being a “terrorist” and even mentioned 9/11. A person who has minimal training in customer service would have been able to handle this situation without incident. Mrs. Rahman reported that Mr. Bass continued to
speak to her in an arrogant rude manner until her husband returned from parking the car. Then Mr. Bass became conciliatory. The situation escalated to such a level that Mrs. Rahman and her family felt it necessary to leave the establishment.
Heartland Muslim Women’s Network
PO Box 11369
Omaha, NE 68111
402 344 8906
April 25, 2004
Lee Roy Mitchell
Chairman of the Board;
Chief Executive Officer; Director
Cinemark USA, Inc.
3900 Dallas Parkway, Suite 500
Plano, TX 75093-7865
Dear Mr. Mitchell:
This problem was immediately reported to our organization and I called the theatre and spoke with Mr. Bass. He was arrogant and rude to me. One would expect a person who is the face of a customer service orientated business to be better trained. When I mentioned referring the matter to the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), instead of offering some kind of apology or attempting to find out what could be done or said to smooth out the situation, Mr. Bass arrogantly preceded to tell me that he had been to law school. He mentioned that the police were at the location and during the course of our conversation, turned away from the phone to talk to them. He made comments to them, purposely loud enough for me to hear. One statement was, “I hate it when people try to pull the discrimination card”. When I asked if he was talking to me, he stated, “You will get no bleeding heart from me, go on and contact CAIR or any other group you want to contact” I then asked for his name and hung up.
Our organization will be contacting our membership and members of local Muslim and the interfaith organizations about this situation. In addition, we will file a formal complaint in Mrs. Rahman’s behalf with CAIR. As a minority group in this country, we must address every incident of discrimination. Your employee’s hostile attitude and use of the word “terrorist” could have cause violence against this family.
We would appreciate hearing from you concerning this matter. Also, what is your written policy toward large purses and baby bags being brought into your theatres and is it routine to target Muslims caring
Ms. Maisha Liwaru