The Washington Post first reported Thursday that Clark filed a complaint with Austin's Equal Employment and Fair Housing Office. He told the American-Statesman on Friday that he had first sent the city a complaint online and is now drafting a formal written complaint. The Statesman has requested from the city all other equal employment complaints filed regarding the screening.
Austin city code bans a public accommodation — which specifically includes a movie theater — from limiting its service or goods on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identification or other factors. It also bars such places from advertising or posting any published statement that indicates services will be limited to certain people.
City code doesn’t spell out a specific punishments for violating the provisions, but says city staff may try to resolve equality issues via “informal methods” or refer the case to the city attorney for prosecution.
The theater’s statement that it would staff only women employees the night of the screening could also be problematic, Clark suggested.
Clark said he originally shrugged off the screening, figuring it was a one-time deal in a city far away from his corner of New York. But he said the Drafthouse’s snarky Facebook posts and suggestion that it would add showings and cities to the event led him to move forward on the complaint.
“Their attitude was really off-putting to me…the suggestion that anybody who pointed out to them that this was illegal was misogynistic or insecure,” he said. “Granted, a number of the men posting were nasty, but if you’re the one hosting the event and you’re already teetering on the edge of illegality, you might dial back the rhetoric.”