Speakeasy Movie Theatre in Breckenridge bans unaccompanied children | SummitDaily.com

Speakeasy Movie Theatre in Breckenridge bans unaccompanied children

Speak Easy Theatre Thursday, May 30, in Breckenridge.
Hugh Carey / hcarey@summitdaily.com

The owner and operator of the Speakeasy Movie Theatre in Breckenridge is so fed up with misbehaving children — to the point some of the alleged acts sound criminal — that she’s banned unaccompanied minors from the theater.

In an email blast, Karin Litzmann detailed her reasons for putting the policy in place, saying she’s received so many complaints about the experience at the movie theater being ruined by unruly children she had to do it.

Describing some of the problems, Litzmann wrote that unknown substances have been smeared on seats, floors and carpets, and someone set off firecrackers inside the theater. Given the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 that left 12 people dead and 70 injured, the implications of the alleged incident weren’t lost on Litzmann as she wrote, “in this time of mass shootings and insecurity in public places, maybe setting off loud explosive devices in a small dark space with few exits goes beyond dangerously stupid and veers into an illegal act of public endangerment.”

Checking the logs at the Breckenridge Police Department, officers haven’t responded to any reports of criminal mischief or any firework-related issues at the theater.

But Litzmann said those incidents and more have all been traced back to minors attending the theater without the supervision of an adult. She continued by saying no one at the theater, including the people who work there, should ever feel like they’re being harassed or threatened, and the policy disallowing unaccompanied children isn’t her overreacting to one singular incident.

“We have given (the children) every possible chance to act responsibly,” Litzmann continued before apologizing “to the grandmother who brought her young grandchild to enjoy a movie together and was spit-balled throughout.”

She apologized to “the many, many responsible, well-behaved and truly kind and respectful kids” who won’t be allowed into the theater without an adult anymore because “their classmates have ruined it for everyone.”

Explaining why she had to ban unaccompanied children from the theater, Litzmann said she simply cannot be put in a position of having to pick out which ones are misbehaving and which ones aren’t, and so the only way to be fair was to make no exceptions for anyone.

The town could have a hand to play in the solution, said Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula, as the theater operates out of a town-owned building and the town has some pull.

While town council would like to see the theater open to children, especially considering they don’t have too many opportunities for things to do in such a small town, said Mamula, he was clear town officials won’t strong-arm the owner into lifting or easing the new restriction.

Rather, town manager Rick Holman and police chief Jim Baird will take the lead on the matter and see if the town might have any resources that could help get the situation under control, the mayor said.

“It’s terrible that a couple kids can screw it up for the good kids that live in this town,” he continued.

The mayor was careful to say he hasn’t had a chance to speak with the owner about the issues she’s been seeing at the theater yet. Still, he’s confident there is an answer somewhere in there.

“We want to make sure that (Litzmann) gets the assistance from the town that she needs,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a way to solve this.”

In the email, Litzmann also took a shot at “the very angry men” who she said have menaced and threatened her, her livelihood and her personal safety. She suggested in the email that “bullying a woman who is just trying to keep a community space safe may not be the lesson you want to pass on to your kids.”

In another email to the newspaper on Thursday, Litzmann said that her email about the theater’s change in policy “was intended as a private communication to a closed group — not for publication nor to draw attention to the Speakeasy.”

She said it was unfortunate that email was forwarded to the newspaper and that she did not wish to comment because she’s “trying to minimize attention to those who probably would enjoy the spotlight.”

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