Deaf Activist Calls For Better Movie Theater Captioning Systems Following 'Black Panther' Screening

Nyle DiMarco, a deaf activist, model, and actor, took to social media Sunday to air grievances surrounding movie theater closed captioning accommodations.

DiMarco, who attended a Black Panther showing at an AMC theater, urged his more than 267K followers to retweet if they "prefer open captioning instead of this," attaching a photo of an obstructive device called a "CaptiView."

Guests with hearing and vision impairments are to secure the device in the cup holder of their seat, adjusting the flexible arm of the device to a desired angle. Dialogue is then presented as text during the movie.

"10 mins into Black Panther, I had to leave," DiMarco wrote in a subsequent tweet.

"It was awful. Kept skipping lines," DiMarco explained. "The difference of focus while switching, gave me a headache. And I kept missing important scenes."

He added, "AMC Theaters made me feel SO disabled. Bring back open captioning and f—k you."

Open captioning, unlike closed captioning, does not involve any manipulation or interaction by the viewing audience, according to the Described and Captioned Media Program. Captions are presented on the screen without the need of special equipment or adjustment required by the viewer.

"Theaters are basically for all the able-bodied people," DiMarco wrote in follow-up tweet.

"It is A LOT cheaper to have open captioning because the clunky device costs $1,5000-$3000," he wrote in another. "Spending more $$$ to make people feel even more disabled, I'll never understand that logic."

DiMarco reported the theater gave him two guest re-admit passes in lieu of a refund. "So I guess I'll go and feel disabled again," DiMarco wrote.

One woman responded to the tweet advocating for wide use of open captioning in separate showings, calling the machines "laggy" and "just plain awful to use."

"This wouldn't only help deaf people," Angelica wrote in a series of tweets. "There's a large amount of the population who would benefit from this, even if it's just because of loud people snacking on their popcorn."

"These devices are an illusion of inclusion," wrote Twitter user Kayla Davis. "Theaters need to be better."

"I really hope AMC (and other theaters) start to take a long, hard look at their captioning systems," Madison Russell shared in a tweet.

"Open captions hurt no one except whiny hearing people, and exponentially improve the experiences of D/deaf, [Hard of Hearing], [Auditory Processing Difficulties], and [English as a Second Language] customers."

"We care very much about all our guests, and take issues like this very seriously," AMC Guest Services tweeted in response, offering to look into the matter further.

AMC Theatres' assistive moviegoing page says the company's goal is "to make all our films enjoyable for everyone."

The site adds Assistive Listening Devices, or ADLs, are available for all movies at AMC locations, but notes not all titles are compliant with closed captions and/or audio descriptions.

AMC offers assistive listening and audio description devices in addition to the CaptiView device.

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