A Wesley Chapel man says he was discriminated against at the Cobb Theatres Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel because he wasn't allowed to bring in a messenger bag when women are allowed to bring in purses.
Zac Adams told Bay News 9 he was banned from bringing in his bag because he's a man. He secretly captured his discussion with a theater staffer on his cell phone camera.
“Because ladies carry big bags, that’s the normal thing for ladies to do,” a female manager tells Adams.
“I don’t understand that, so if I were a lady, my bag would have been allowed in?” says Adams.
“Yes,” says the woman.
Adams walked into the theater carrying his messenger bag and was asked to check it with theater staff. However, when he saw women coming in with large bags he began to wonder.
“I was perfectly OK with it until I saw everyone else in this entire building bring bags in, and now I have a problem,” Adams says in the video.
“I’m sorry you have a problem, but we just don’t let gentlemen in with big bags,” the woman responds.
The argument continued for several minutes.
“You could be holding onto recording devices, but ladies, it’s normal for them. Every lady carries a purse. Not every man carries a purse,” the woman says.
“It’s not a purse, it’s a bag. I have my glasses in there, my credit cards,” Adams says.
A customer even chimed in.
“Is it normal for a guy to carry a bag? No,” says the customer in the video.
Adams is still feeling uneasy about the whole situation.
“I feel discriminated against, because, as I said, the only reason that they stopped me was because I was a guy with a bag,” Adams said.
He says he carries his bag everywhere and it’s unfortunate that his local theater that he goes to about once a week has a such a policy.
“I have my iPad in there, all my credit cards, just general accessories that any guy would have.”
Bay News 9 reached out to Cobb Theatres about the incident and received this statement:
“Large bags are not allowed in our theaters for the safety and security of our guests and employees regardless of the gender of the person carrying the bag. We are currently looking into the matter.”
The Grove 16 & CineBistro 6 is where, according to authorities, retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves shot and killed movie patron Chad Oulson in January 2014. Reeves is expected to go to trial later this year.
After the incident, Adams says because of the way he was treated he’s not sure he’ll be coming back.
The incident took place last Sunday. The theater said in its statement its employees were unaware they were being filmed.