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Texting Wars, Continued (VIDEO)

Texting Wars, Continued (VIDEO)

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the movie theater can be a dangerous place for unsuspecting patrons. Last year critic, blogger, and Twitter provocateur Alex Billington of First Showing called 911 when a fellow critic used his phone during a Toronto International Film Festival press and industry screening of Ti West’s found-footage flick “The Sacrament.” After tweeting about his accomplishment and subsequently deleting said tweet, he apologized and admitted that he overreacted. 
This week during the AFI Fest at the Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood, a woman who apparently had urgent business on her smart phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” sprayed a man in the face with mace. His crime? He asked her to not use her phone during the movie. Multiple times. They weren’t even 15 minutes into the two-and-a-half-hour movie. She has yet to tweet an apology.

Steven Boone offers his first-person account of the incident:

Barely 15 minutes into the film, near the back rows of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theater 1, a man demanded that a woman sitting in the row in front of him turn off her smartphone. When she didn’t respond, he tapped her on the shoulder. She shouted, “You hit me!” and rose to her feet. The man said, “I tapped you!” The woman turned her phone’s blaring bright screen toward the man and others in his row, who were all shouting at her, “Sit down! Shut up!” 

Many others joined the chorus. Since she was slowly panning the phone across the row, she appeared to be filming her supposed assailant and his possible accomplices. She shouted, “I’m calling the police! It’s a good thing I carry mace!”

She went into her bag and brought up a satchel or holster, unbuttoning a flap over the spray nozzle…The man shouted his incredulity that the woman would even mention mace, then shrieked his disbelief when she maced him. He rushed out of the auditorium, groaning in pain, promising to have her arrested.

According to Variety:

The man repeatedly told the woman to turn off her cell phone five minutes into the movie. After she refused, the man then reached over the seat and tapped her on the shoulder (“You need to turn off your phone!” he said), causing the woman to stand up, and after a brief exchange, she sprayed him in the face with the self-defense chemical.

We’ve all been there. It’s really annoying when someone continually uses his or her phone during a movie, especially one as gorgeously enthralling as “Mr. Turner,” a likely Oscar contender. If everyone who wants to shoot a text or check Facebook during a movie starts packing mace, we’re all in a lot of trouble. The man who was sprayed in the face left the theater, and security officers arrived in 15 minutes to escort his attacker out of the house. 

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