Movie theater chain says it will end all screenings of films by Donald Trump
Movie theater chains are facing a barrage of complaints from consumers who say their business models are under attack by the President-elect.
The complaints are being heard in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has the authority to oversee the movie theater industry, including the country’s largest chains.
They include complaints from customers who say the chains are making it harder for them to get films they’ve paid for, or that they are forced to cancel screenings or put up advertisements in which the owners don’t agree with the politics of the movie.
“We are concerned about the effect this administration is having on consumers,” said David T. Burt, director of the consumer bureau’s office of competition enforcement.
“This administration has been very critical of the business practices of many of the largest movie theaters.”
Movie theater owners are worried about their business model.
They argue that their businesses have grown dramatically in recent years and that they should be allowed to compete on the same terms as other businesses.
Many of them say they are not allowed to make political contributions, and many of them have gone bankrupt.
In recent months, more than 30 theater owners have sued Trump over his presidency.
The owners say he has been an unpatriotic bully who has threatened to impose new restrictions on movie theaters and other industries.
“He’s just been so aggressive,” said Bob W. Kallio, president and CEO of the North American Premiere Theatre Association.
“I think the president is trying to take away everything we’ve built up to now.”
Some theaters are canceling their programming and other theater owners say they’ve lost business.
“If you’re a movie theater, you’re an American company,” said Kallia L. Martin, president of the Los Angeles Premiere Theater, which had been planning a major expansion in Los Angeles.
“You have to be able to compete.
You have to pay your fair share.”
Martin said that in recent months he had received phone calls from people who said they had been unable to see films because of the president-elect’s policies.
She said some theaters had to put up signs with “Trump 2020” to discourage people from showing up.
The president-election has drawn increasing criticism from the movie industry, which argues that movie theatres are important to the industry’s growth and to the culture of film and television.
The movie theater lobby is now asking the CFPB to issue guidance that will give theaters the power to limit advertising and political activities, but it also wants the agency to expand the bureau’s authority to include other industries, including advertising, book publishing, telecommunications, and even entertainment.
Many industry officials say they have no idea how the bureau will enforce its authority.
“They don’t have the resources to do that,” said Michael C. Cohen, president emeritus of the American Association of Theater Owners.
“It’s a very complicated situation.
We’re in the business of selling entertainment.
We don’t want to be in the government business.”
Michael J. Healey, president for public policy at the National Association of Theatre Owners, said the bureau should issue guidance as soon as possible.
“At this point, we’re waiting for the guidance,” he said.
The CFPI said it will consider the requests and will decide whether to issue guidelines in the coming months.
Some movie theater owners said they are also considering a lawsuit against Trump, a move that would allow them to argue that the movie mogul is trying too hard to suppress free speech.
“There’s nothing the C.F.P.B. can do,” said Chris M. Giannakopoulos, president-CEO of the National Film Preservation Board.
“The movie business is an industry that’s growing at such a phenomenal rate, and we’re trying to be as inclusive as we can.”
The movie industry is not alone in its complaints about the Trump administration.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups are also filing lawsuits to try to block Trump from taking office.
“In the absence of a coherent response to these complaints, the American people are left with little choice but to remain skeptical of the legitimacy of the Trump presidency,” said Dan Froomkin, director and co-founder of the Center for Media Justice, which filed a suit on behalf of a coalition of film theaters.
“These are businesses that are trying to stay afloat, to survive.
They are doing their jobs and the CFCB is doing theirs.”
The C.B.’s complaints are the latest development in a long-running debate about the role of political speech in the public interest.
The debate has long centered on whether politicians should be free to use their platform to influence public opinion or whether the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and expression.
The Supreme Court has said that the First and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee a person’s right to freedom of expression, and the high court has interpreted the First, Fourteenth, and Fourteen Amendments to require that free speech be