After Being Harassed By A Moviegoer At The New Alamo Drafthouse In Lake Highlands, Rachael Carter Shared Her Experience On Facebook To Praise How The Staff Handled It.
On Saturday night, Rachael Carter headed out to the new Alamo Drafthouse location in Lake Highlands to watch Avengers: Infinity War just like seemingly everyone else in the world was doing.
But she left the theater with a sour taste in her mouth and her anxiety levels through the roof — not because of the movie’s climactic, heart-breaking scenes, but because a random man accosted her not once but twice over the course of her experience.
It’s an account Carter detailed in an 11-minute video she posted to Facebook on Sunday morning.
Here’s what happened: Carter found her seat, leaned back and relaxed while awaiting the film’s start. To her right sat a group of four men. To her left, there was an empty seat – one that “Mr. Creepy Avenger Dude,” as Carter refers to her accoster in the video, would eventually take.
The first time the man sat in the seat next to Carter’s, he leaned his seat back to match hers and tried to lean into her while telling her she was beautiful and had a beautiful smile. Carter tried ignoring the man, but that move only made him more aggressive.
“As most women know, you smile and say ‘Thank you’ and you return to what you were doing before,” Carter says in the video. “This person kept going with it. He tried to touch me. He tried to lean into me.”
After the man left, she apologized to the group of men sitting next to her because she was heavily pushing into their space to avoid the man coming into hers. After she further explained the situation, they offered to help her should the man return, and to walk her to her car. She also used the theater’s food-ordering system to alert the cinema staff to her situation, and to ask for help in getting to her car after the film ended, which a manager promised her the theater would do.
When Mr. Creepy Avenger Dude returned later during the film, he offered to buy Carter dinner and again tried touch her — at which point one of the men sitting next to her leaned over, stood up and walked out, causing Mr. Creepy Avenger Dude to get up and leave too.
After the film’s end, Carter was walked to her car by a security guard. She says she felt safer with that assistance, but that, once inside her car, she worried that Mr. Creepy Avenger Dude would follow her home — a thought, she says, she knows millions of women have had before.
“People like that exist in this world,” Carter says in the video. “They’re not the people who catcall you at the gas station. They’re the guys that you can say ‘no’ five times in a row in a public place loudly, even when being polite, and they still consistently think that it’s OK to talk to you and it’s OK to touch you and it’s OK to invade your space.”
The incident comes just a few months after it was reported that higher-ups of the Austin-based chain were downplaying or simply hiding accusations of sexual harassment going on inside the corporate structure. While Carter says she can’t speak to those reports, she says the staff at the recently opened Lake Highlands location did exactly what they needed to do to help her feel safe.
“From the local angle, it feels good,” Carter says now, a few days after the incident. “On a face-to-face level, it feels good knowing a local business like that has this structure to help people that way. These are places people go on dates to. If places like that took action like [Alamo Drafthouse] did, maybe it would make people more proactive.”
The entire ordeal, Carter says, was a learning experience for her. But, she says, it should also serve as a reminder to men that this is a situation that happens, and will continue happening, until there’s a shift in societal behavior.
“Men, if you’re out there, or parents if you have sons — I know that y’all are probably already doing this — but teaching your son that rejection is an OK thing and that it sucks and that it’s part of life is great,” Carter says in the video. “There are times to be consistent and persistent, but that is not the time. And when a woman is physically uncomfortable around you and you can read body language and you can tell that she’s trying to be polite and say no, then it’s unacceptable for them to continue pushing themselves upon you.”