While enjoying a movie at New York’s most popular theaters, a couple got more than a few plot twists and popcorn.
Pix11 reports moviegoers Jessica Vidal and her husband went to the AMC 25 Empire movie theater on West 42nd street earlier this month to ironically check out Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us. During the film, Vidal’s husband felt bites on his neck only to discover he was the target of bed bugs.
A representative from the AMC theater says an inspection was done at the time of the complaint, but there wasn’t a sign of the parasitic crawlers. “We are aware that guests have reported this issue recently, but have found no evidence at the theatre to confirm those reports,” they said.
Vidal’s claims weren’t backed by the theater, but they were supported by another customer who attended the theater the day before. NYU graduate Don Ho told The Gothamist Thursday (Oct. 12) while watching Never Say Die, he got “red itchy bumps” on his forearm. “I’m under the impression that this has been happening for awhile, and they’re not really doing anything about it,” he said.
Other reports of bed bugs in the theater date back to 2010 and 2015.
Speaking to The Gothamist, AMC Spokesperson Ryan Noonan said they plan to launch an investigation into the reports using an outside party. “We are aware that guests have reported this issue recently, but have found no evidence at the theatre to confirm those reports,” he said. “As we do anytime bed bugs are reported, we investigated immediately upon a receiving a guest report, using a third-party pest control company. Thorough examinations of auditoriums in question revealed no sign of any bed bug activity.”
He also hinted that , “Bed bugs are a widespread issue throughout New York City. Studies show that people are much more likely to encounter them in hotels and on their transportation to a movie theatre than in a movie theater itself. AMC is vigilant and aggressive about the inspection and treatment of this issue, both proactively and reactively. Every seat at AMC Empire 25 is proactively inspected every month and treated immediately if there is any sign of bed bugs.”
A Change.org petition was launched, calling out the theater to fix the issue. “Bed bugs bite. And removing them from a home can cost thousands,” it reads. “Getting bed bugs into a house or apartment can literally ruin lives and cost people their life savings. Many patrons are not aware of that or their presence when they visit AMC Empire 25.”