Texas Movie Theater Refuses to Run Atheist Ad; Lawsuit to Follow?

A Texas movie theater has refused to run an ad by a local atheist organization, prompting some to consider a lawsuit against the business.

Angelika Film Center of Plano initially agreed to run an ad by Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason, but on the day before it was scheduled to run, the movie theater's leaders changed their mind.

Zachary Moore, coordinator of the DFWCR, told The Christian Post that his organization first attempted to advertise with another theater, the Movie Tavern in Arlington.

"The Movie Tavern has claimed that they have a policy against religious advertising, but such a policy has not been provided to us," said Moore.

"Following the cancellation of our contract with the Movie Tavern, we sought out a similar contract with the Angelika and was successful."

Angelika Film Center of Plano, Texas did not return a request for comments by press time.

Angelika Theater representatives reportedly told the atheist group that it won't run the ad due to the theater's position that no religious ads be allowed at the business. Moore, however, disputes Angelika's reasoning.

"Angelika has not made any such policy available to us, nor was this mentioned during our contract negotiation," said Moore.

"The Angelika has even refused to provide us with a written notice of our contract cancellation. As with the Movie Tavern, we have received reports of regular religious advertising at the Angelika."

The incident has prompted some, including the American Humanist Association, to threaten a lawsuit against Angelika under the premise that the theater violated DFWCR's rights by not airing its ad.

Stewart Thomas, a Dallas area attorney interviewed by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, considered the potential case to be "very interesting" but expressed doubt that DFWCR had a good legal argument.

"[I]t seems to me the public accommodation is to attend the theater and watch the movie, everyone has the right to watch the movie. I'm not sure the theater has to sell to anyone that wants to buy advertising," said Thomas.

DFWCR had originally planned to have the movie ad run during Good Friday and Easter. The organization's setbacks have been attributed by some to "Christian activists" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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