Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cusacks refuse to accomodate sick child, file restraining order against Kiefaber

The Baltimore Sun has just reported that Kathleen Cusack, one of the new operators of The Senator Theatre, have filed a restraining order to keep Tom Kiefaber away from the theatre he was the proud and loyal steward of for over 20 years. In typical Baltimore Sun fashion, they neglected to report the other side of the story, when it comes to Kiefaber.

I was there when the incident happened. Here's the comment I posted on the Sun's article, although it has come to my attention that it's somewhat misleading, and I address that in the update below.

laurajperk at 1:23 PM July 16, 2011
I was a witness to this incident. Kiefaber was attempting to protect the health of a sick child, who had been advised by his doctor not to sit in the auditorium at the Harry Potter midnight show, because he has leukemia and has no immune system left.

The boy in question had apparently been to all previous Harry Potter midnight shows at The Senator and was determined to attend. The Cusacks had been asked to accomodate the boy's medical needs by allowing him to use the upstairs party rooms, which would have separated him from bathing in the sea of germs in the auditorium. The Cusacks refused.

Kiefaber was there because he was outraged by this lack of concern for this boy's welfare. His intention was to persuade the Cusacks to reconsider. The incident got out of hand primarily because of the Cusack's unbelievable lack of concern for the kid's health.

There are emails that have been circulated between one of the child's parents and Kathleen Cusack that substantiate the reality of this situation. I will not quote them at this time, because I have not spoken to the family. In them, Ms. Cusack changes her story about why it is impossible to accomodate the child's medical needs several times.

Also, I did not follow Kiefaber into the building, but it's my understanding that the shoving was begun by the staff of The Senator, attempting to shove him out the door. Hopefully more on this will surface later.

UPDATE: I realized that my comment on the Sun site earlier had given some people the mistaken impression that Kiefaber was angry when he went into The Senator. That's not what I intended to convey. In fact, he was in a good mood when he went in, because he believed he had worked it out with some members of The Senator's staff (not the Cusacks) that they were going to go ahead and accomodate the kid's medical needs. He simply went in to ensure that this was in fact happening. It was when he found out that they intended to let the kid just sit there in the auditorium, being exposed to countless germs, that he got mad.

UPDATE #2: Kiefaber has now posted at least some of the email exchanges between the parents and the Cusacks, which were forwarded to him, in comments on the Sun site. He had sent them to the Sun, but the reporter refused to report on them, and slammed down the phone, apparently when the story stopped fitting her preconceived agenda.

UPDATE #3: Some of the info Kiefaber has posted in comments on the Sun site below:

PART 1 The reporter just told me she is "finished with this story" and slammed the phone down. The Truth hurts so I wioll now post the information she's chosen to ignore.


I understand that it is within my rights , in order to defend my self & my actions tonight at The Senator, to put the email exchange between us that I originally placed [within the exchange in writing] , off the record, on the record and release it if I care to do that. Presently that appears my only option to insure that the truth is adhered to in this needless drama,.this situation is absurd, and should never have gotten to this.

I was assaulted tonight at The damn Senator Theatre! Unbelievable. It's a real drag Adam. I simply tried to advise you, dammit, in good faith to just help this kid above all else, that's all, be Solomon remember? as you should note when you review your copy of the correspondence. It just didn't happen.

I was simply was in neighborhood tonight, in my district after campaigning all day, and stopped by the theatre line outside to renew od friendships etc. Then decided, for sound night's sleep, really, that's what I was thinking when I wandered into the outer lobby at around 10:30 to reassure myself that wisdom prevailed and the young man was safely in one of the lounges, where he wanted to be anyway. I was shocked, dude, when it was like, get out! What do you want?

I just wanted to know that it all worked out, and that the kid who was so ill was not being exposed to that invisible cloud of airborne virus and bacteria from a packed house when he NEEDED TO BE UPSTAIRS, before they let the crowd in. He has leukemia and his immune system is hardly there , if you recall. It's just that cut and dry, possibly life or death cut and dry. As you know, his doctors as Sinai forbade him to go at all !! Nada. And the management said there were 870 people in there. That's too packed. 870 in there is cheek to jowl. Starting to see this nightmare shaping up? Well I sure did, and I was trying to reason with a blank wall of go away.

So when all these hundreds of patrons were rolling into the auditorium coughing and shedding virus and bacteria, i am thinking of this very sick kid with no immune system is now stuck in there for OVER THREE HOURS, in a sold out show, I got a little jiggy wid it.

Alarmed and frustrated is more like it, at the abject s u p i d i t y of it all.

Part 3

So it became a bit of a scene, after I was treated very rudely for my simple, smiling inquiry. Then words were exchanged I was jostled and taunted by someone named "Chris", who was not even staff as far as I could tell. Like a friend of the staff. I plan to file assault charges on him in the morning downtown if I figure out who he is and how to do that. . I have never been treated like that anywhere, particularly there.., the guy really jammed me. Seriously.

Words were exchanged , I used some profanity, and then was assaulted by a few staff, [I'm OK] and the Chris guy in particular, and then screeched at by Katheen Cusack in my Face with, "the kid's sitting down stairs, That's it! Now please leave our building immediately".

Lounge A and B were both sitting empty. EMPTY. It was one of the most pointless, stupid and shamefully, dangerous things I have ever seen in 35 years running motion picture theatres, 25 of them winning award running the The Senator as professional, and not as a look-what-daddy-got-me-toy to now dangerously mismanage. And that's the truth. And you know it too.

From my informed perspective, the management of The Senator tonight committed some form of criminal negligence, of the most arrogant and stupid kind.

A very unpleasant end to an otherwise great day of campaigning.


[my account above was sent by me to a patch reporter.

PART ONE [of 2] of my email sent to reporter/slacker Julie B. earlier today.


There's more that's even worse but I don't want to hit the inbox too hard. That should keep you busy for a bit digesting what really is going on here. I am incredulous that filed this action against me. All I can figure is that they thought the Sun may do with it what's been down so far and not tell the real story because I have been accused of assult. Let's see what ensues.

By the way, she says they sold 870 tickets? to The Senator for the midnight show. If they did as KC states, you would need the lounges to seat the overflow. The Senator only reported 750 tix sold to Warner Bros. for that show. That's public record. That's a strange income discrepancy of over $1200 that Warner Bros. is apparently looking into. Something isn't right there. The film companies want each and every numbered ticket accounted for. Each Ticket!

Email to reporter Julie earlier today: PART two

So are they allowed to have people up there in the lounges or not according to the FD? That story keeps changing from KC. Kinda, no we can't for the midnight show, buuuut we will break the regs. later and slide him up, ignoring those FD safety regs when we can get away with it? ? What is all that about? . Please run that to ground. I would also check with the FD and find out is that is true or false, or what about new FD regulations on the Senator's mezzanine? Inquiring minds want to know. See where this leads? Gonna "go there"? I doubt it...

Regards, Tom


This email posted below was form Kathleen Cusack, and forwarded to me by those trying to arrange for the young man Sam, who has had his immune system wiped by chemo for a possibly lethal illness he was recently diagnosed with, sit upstairs for the special midnight premiere of HP at The Senator thrusday eve, I tried to stay out of this situation but got involved out of concern for the very sick young man's well being and fuiture.

Subject: RE: Help for a sick boy

good morning:

logistically we cannot accommodate your request to use the screening room at the midnight premiere. as you may imagine, it is sold out and it will be a mob-scene. there will be roughly 870 people there, who begin to line up for their seats around 9pm.

however, in the alternative we would like to suggest that perhaps sam and his mother come to the first scheduled matinee show that following friday or saturday afternoon.

we will need the full names of all of those that plan to come (in the event that he would like any friends to join them; we ask that there not be more than a total of 4)

additionally, they would need to arrive and be discretely seated upstairs one hour before the crowds arrive.

please let me know if you find this acceptable so that i can begin to make the appropriate arrangements.


Note that in this one, she changed her story to it can't happen that night that the kid can go upstairs, when she initially said it couldn't happen because it was against Fire Department regs for anyone to be in the party rooms.

More from TK...

So the burning question remains, why wasn't this extremly vulnerable, ill young man not allowed upstairs Thursday night for his safety? The family was intially told it could not happen at all, because it was prohibited by the BCFD. What?

Then the story changed to what you see in the next post below. Then they were told by KC, it's OK but not for the critical midnight show? Too busy to bother with letting him upstairs that night. Really now?? and 870 tickets sold????. No, and that's a strange claim by KC. None of this fiasco in safe theatre management and operation adds up in my mind.

Ms. Cusack essentially lied to these folks multiple times, in writing, and so she was pissed that I found out about it. So she dug her heels in, the kid marinates in potentially lethal virus for three hours and I get a restraining order trying to do something about it when I found out what was up only after walking into the lobby that nigh to simply inquire about it?

Oh no. Not for this I should not be barred form the premisie. This upcoming hearing with the judge should be interesting. What do you bet The Sun does not meke it that day. Pinkie shake?

And to all who are judging me so harshy without any of these facts, what if it was your son in there? Would I be a loudmounth crazy man then?

Pitch to KC from the boy's family:Kathleen:Sam & his group have all their tickets for the premiere screening. The pediatric oncologists at Sinai got wind of Sam's HP plans & told us that seating him in such close proximity to so many others would be very dangerous, as his immune system is shot & his treatment regimen has made him vulnerable to contagious agents in a large crowd that would not be an issue if he was not so ill. Please allow me to hone in on the specifics of our request as I may not have been clear before. We are asking that only Sam & his mother, two ticketed patrons, be permitted at showtime to be seated in one of the the mezz lounges to enjoy the film screening. Sam is perfectly ambulatory & the concern is about his being so close to so many other patrons. His doctor nixed his being seated downstairs in close proximity for a two hour period, that's all. In that light we ask that you reconsider our request with those parameters. Hopefully with this clarification it will allow you & your staff to permit Sam & his Mom to enjoy this meaningful HP evening together on your theatre's mezzanine level, the two of them.Your compassion & assistance in this regard will be greatly appreciated by all concerned. Please let me know if I can supply any additional info per this request. The doctors are happy to provide verification of Sam's illness.


A reader asks why it was necessary that the kid be allowed to go to the midnight show, instead of some other show. My guess is the refusal to accomodate him was a violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is huge, and I'm not a lawyer, but it prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public places.

I would assume that this means that you can't discriminate against someone who has a disability caused by illness (in this case a disabled immune system), when it is possible to accomodate their needs.

The party rooms were empty, according to Kathleen Cusack. They could easily have accomodated the child's needs.

Furthermore, I don't think the ADA allows you to treat disabled persons as a second class of citizens and dictate, for example, what times they are allowed to be accomodated. If the kid wanted to come to the midnight show, and they could accomodate him then, I would think they were in violation of the ADA by not doing so.


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Blogger Laura Serena said...

I can't believe the comments on the Sun site and a few reader's responses here from people who somehow think it's more important for the Cusacks to always be right and in absolute authority at The Senator than for them to have an appropriate, compassionate response to a child with cancer.

A few folks out there have so much of their ego invested in proving that the Cusacks are right and Tom is wrong in all situations that they have lost all sense of humanity. Of course Tom got mad, you fools! The Cusack's response to the situation was totally inappropriate.

Seriously, if you can't see that it was wildly inappropriate not to accomodate a kid with leukemia, when apparently the party rooms were empty that night (according to them), then you need to go take some time to contemplate this and think it over.

You'd get mad too if you had been asked to help with this situation and got the response you got from the management of The Senator.

July 19, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that the people who have posted the hate comments towards Tom are either associated with the Cusacks or they're somehow associated with Baltimore City's government. Most people do not spew that much hatred towards someone they haven't met. Also, the repetition of these posters who aren't just posting once, but posting many, many times just makes them look planted.

Also, since I have been following this story from the beginning, I've noticed that many comments popping up are the same comments from last year attached to different screen names; particulary comments about whining over money they donated to the theatre in 2007. Many of the comments have nothing to do with the actual story, they're just hate filled anti-Kiefaber posts. Again, they look totally planted.

July 25, 2011

Blogger Laura Serena said...

You have a good point. Actually, I have long suspected that many of the hate comments on the Sun and other news sites are made by people working for a service that was hired by one of Tom's political enemies. They all swarm to a new article at the same time (immediately when an article about him is posted), and they all have the same talking points. They are working way too hard at this to be simply people who hate someone they don't know with that much passion.

For those of us who have been working on this issue, particularly those who volunteered at the theatre when Tom was running it, those posts amount to verbal abuse, which is why I've mostly stopped commenting on those sites, and why I monitor comments on my blog. Simply put, I don't post comments from haters, particularly anonymous haters. I am not a punching bag, and neither is Tom Kiefaber or any of the FOTS volunteers.

This is different from saying that I won't post comments I disagree with. I will post comments I disagree with if they're reasonable, respectful, and not delusional. I rarely get those.

July 25, 2011


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