Former journalist turned internet troll masquerading as a "film critic" Jeffrey Wells does not play nice on the internet. His latest target? Mentally disabled people.
In a post entitled "If You Can't Control Yourself, You're Gone" on his Hollywood Elsewhere blog, Wells rages poetic after, as he describes it:
A few nights ago some “mentally-challenged” guy ruined (or came close to ruining) a screening of Gravity for the parents of a guy I know. [...] The guy was making spastic noises all through the film. Audible to many but nobody squawked except for my friend’s dad. When he confronted theater management “they didn’t want to hear any of it” and said “we can’t not allow someone in because they have a disability.” The discussion continued and they finally offered him two free tickets. The bottom line is that the Manchester theatre manager felt it was preferable to put his customers through a major annoyance than risk being seen as bigoted toward handicapped people.
Emphasis mine. Throughout his post, Wells all but comes outright and asks for a ban on mentally handicapped attendees—or anyone else who might ruin his moviegoing experience, on the basis that if you disrupt the moviegoing experience for the other patrons, you must be ejected, with no exceptions. Perhaps next he can help ban the lovely gentleman who sat next to me when I watched Gravity, nervously holding his colostomy bag and apologizing constantly. I didn't care for his passing of gas, even though he couldn't help it. Can someone call Wells for me?
He goes on to cite the letter his friend's father wrote to the Cinemark Theatre Group, an eight paragraph rant blaming the management of the theater chain as well as the parents of the boy—who had Down's Syndrome—for not ejecting the family from the theater so that he could enjoy his moviegoing experience. The crux of the friend's father's argument lays here (emphasis again mine):
Unfortunately, your management decided to sell a ticket to a family who rudely chose to bring their Down Syndrome child to the film. He appeared to be significantly impaired in that he would yell out loud every few minutes, thus distracting everyone else in the theater. This is no more different than someone chatting on their cell phone, or texting with a bright LED light, or a group of teenagers showing up to do everything but watch the film at hand. I don’t blame the disabled child in the slightest. That is his unfortunate condition. I believe his parent was an insensitive moron for bringing him to the film so that she could see the film.
Given that Gravity is a PG-13 film, there's a good chance the boy actually wanted to see the film himself, and was hoping to have a fun night at the movies without being trolled by a random stranger who lacks compassion and tolerance, as well as his friend with an Internet connection and page views to burn. The Cinemark Theatre Group was absolutely in the right by not denying admission to someone based on disability, and by offering affected patrons an alternative.
Despite his journalism roots (Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, and New York Daily News, to name a few), these days Wells is known for being a notorious troll. He's used his blog in the past to rail against a neighbor who thinks "is so fat" their building buckles under his weight, a gay neighbor whose only crime is giggling while on the phone, and women—suggesting they would be better off if they had the temperament of dogs.