Local cinema in Batemans Bay closes after social media backlash

A local cinema has been forced to shut its doors following a barrage of social media threats prompted by an incident involving a young cancer sufferer.

The Bay City Cinemas did not permit Addison Wilson-Mitchell, her brother and father to enter the movie theatre carrying a bag containing supplies including medications, one which she needed to take during the movie.

The business has a strict no backpack policy, citing the health and safety of other patrons.

Addison’s mother Kristen Wilson-Mitchell said the venue was not willing to bend the rules.

It is very strange that they would not make an exception for Addison,” Ms Wilson-Mitchell said.

After trying to negotiate with staff, her husband James Wilson-Mitchell decided it was best for their family to get a refund and miss the movie.

“It just was not worth it for Addison to see the movie,” she said. “Addison was very upset.”

A family member posted angrily about the incident on their personal Facebook page and it was widely shared. Ms Wilson-Mitchell says the original post had been deleted due to the unprecedented online response.

Normally open everyday except Christmas, Bay City Cinemas has closed “until further notice”.

A handwritten sign on the cinema gate says the decision is “due to threats against our business and staff members”, adding they “can no longer guarantee the safety” of patrons or staff.

Ms Wilson-Mitchell says any threats made toward the business is “absolutely unacceptable” and it had “gotten out of hand” on social media.

“It was not our intention for the business and their staff to receive this type of response,” she said.

Cinema manager Glenda Churchill told the Bay Post staff were only made aware of Addison’s condition when the tickets were refunded.

“This could have been avoided if they had contacted us beforehand and let us know about the situation,” she told Fairfax Media.

“Our staff only found out about her condition when the tickets were refunded. I do feel bad for the sick little girl.”

She said backpacks were strictly banned for the safety and comfort of all customers.

Addison has seven more months of treatment after being diagnosed in January with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer.

Addison is being treated at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and has already received chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, radiation therapy and special immunotherapy treatment.

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