Many had the chance to see Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend, but one fan didn't get the same opportunity. 15-year-old Emily Womack went with her parents on opening weekend to go see Avengers: Endgame, but because she has Tourette Syndrome, she didn't get to see the movie. That's because the theater asked her to leave due to customer complaints about her tics, but as she explained in a recent video on Facebook, the movie hadn't even started yet, and she was only letting her tics out so that during the actual movie she could deal with them quietly as not to affect anyone else's enjoyment of the movie.
"Today I went to go see the movie premiere for Avengers: Endgame with my mom and my dad," Womack said. "They wanted to take me to it because they know I've wanted to see it since Infinity War, because once again I love Marvel, and also wanted to know what happened to Peter Parker because I love him."
"I have the ability to suppress my tics," Womack said. "I scream and I move around a lot and I twitch my eyes and things like that, but I do have the ability to hold it back when necessary but it hurts, especially over long periods of time so if I don't have to I try not to. A movie like the Avengers is usually like 2 hours, 3 hours long and in order to watch the movie I was releasing my tics before the movie started during the previews so that during the movie I wouldn't be ticing because I like to enjoy the movie too. I don't want to scream. I understand that it would be hard to watch a movie like that."
"The theater, the manager of the theater came and they tapped my mom on the shoulder and they were like 'hey, come talk to me'. They had told my parents that people were complaining about me. The movie hadn't started. There were previews of like underwear and stuff like that. I guess they asked if we could leave and if we didn't leave then anyone who complained they have to give the people in the theater free tickets if I didn't leave."
Womack and her family obliged and left the theater, but as you can imagine she's a bit hurt that the theater and other people in the theater didn't even give her a chance before voicing their concerns to the management staff.
"I understand, I just, I understand that during a movie people don't want to hear me tic like that, but I wish you would've given me a chance before coming and asking me to leave the theater," Womack said. "I automatically get more embarrassed and I feel so judged whenever people are like 'okay, we want you gone.' The movie hadn't even started yet. They're advertising underwear on the screen. It hurts, and so they want me gone, so okay, I don't feel comfortable anymore being in a theater where everyone's there like 'why is she here, and my Tourettes automatically gets worse whenever it's brought to my attention and whenever I'm in an uncomfortable situation, so I'd appreciate it if in the future somebody could talk to my parents or talk to me before going to a manager or if the manager could've waited until the movie had started. I wasn't going to tic during the movie. I can suppress these things. I wasn't even given the chance to watch a movie. I didn't get one second in before they asked me to go, and I've been waiting for this movie."
Emily's mother Tina Womack said this is sadly just normal for them but hopes this incident will bring awareness to other people struggling with Tourette's and how to treat people in general.
"Unfortunately, this incident wasn't out of the ordinary for us," Tina Womack said. "Normal, everyday things like shopping, eating out become tasks with potential frustrations like staring, giggling, and whispers. The most hurtful thing, for Emily, is when adults call her names. Some have gone as far as to suggest that there was a crow or some other loud squawking bird loose in the store. We hope that sharing Emily's experience will open a dialogue about Tourette's and bring some awareness for everyone who has been through similar experiences."
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