Mother Says That She & Her Son Were Kicked Out Of A Movie Theater After She Assisted Him In The Women's Restroom

The mother explained the situation to the theater manager, who claimed that "grown men were not allowed in the women's restroom."

upset mother and son, movie theater Violator22 via Shutterstock / Krists Luhaers via Unsplash

A mother assisting her autistic teenage son in a movie theater restroom was shocked after a manager approached her and asked the two of them to leave the theater. When she attempted to explain the situation, the manager claimed that she did not care, and argued that the woman’s son should not have been in the restroom with her. 

Now, the mother is suing the movie theatre chain for discrimination. 


The woman’s teenage son is 15 years old, autistic and nonverbal, and needs help while using public restrooms. 

What was supposed to be a fun outing at the movies for a mother and son quickly turned into a nightmare. Christine Gallinaro and her 15-year-old son, John, were at Cinemark’s Hazlet 12 movie theatre in New Jersey enjoying a film when John needed to use the restroom. 

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Since Christine’s husband was not with the two of them and there was no family restroom in the theatre, she had no choice but to bring her son into the women’s restroom. 


Those who were in the restroom at the time “did not complain” and were sympathetic about the situation involving Christine and John, per WPIX News. However, the manager of the theater disagreed and approached the mother and son. 

The movie theater manager had the mother and son removed from the property after she saw the teen in the women's restroom. 

“I asked her if there was a problem, and she responded, ‘Yes. He [John] should not be in here [the women’s restroom],” Christine said. 

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Even after Christine explained the situation to the manager, she still did not approve. “I explained that he was disabled to her… she kind of stood her ground and gave me an ‘I don’t care attitude’ and said something along the lines of a grown boy or man should not be in the woman’s bathroom.’” 

The manager then called security and police to escort the mother and son out of the movie theatre. 

In a cellphone video Christine recorded as she was interacting with security and police officers, it is clear that they are empathetic toward her situation. 

“He has autism, and I’m not putting him in a bathroom by himself,” she can be heard telling officers of her son. “I couldn’t agree with you more,” an officer says to her. 


Christine described the experience as “humiliating” and “scary” for her son. While the movie theater’s regional manager did reach out to her and offer her a refund, Christine claimed that the damage had already been done. 

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The Gallinaro family has since filed a lawsuit against the movie theatre chain, suing them for discrimination against their disabled son. 

“What happened that day was unlawful, wrong, and bizarre,” says Austin Tobin, the Gallinaro family’s lawyer. The family’s goal is to raise awareness of their story and ensure that other families with disabled children are not subjected to the same treatment in public spaces.

Christine shared that she has received supportive responses from the parenting community, notably those with disabled children. 


“Since this happened and has been made public, there has been an overwhelming response of support, particularly from mothers of disabled children,” she said. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 42.5 million Americans with disabilities, making up 13% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. They deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and kindness in public spaces, instead of being humiliated and degraded for requiring extra assistance. 

The Gallinaro family’s story also brings forth the proposition that family restrooms be incorporated into every movie theatre and other public spaces. 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.