Statement in Response to Incident at BFI

We are saddened to read about the treatment of a BFI patron with autism who was allegedly removed by force from a screening last night, and look forward to a considered and detailed response from the BFI on this incident.

People with learning disabilities and autism can face regular stigma, harassment and misunderstanding. They are underrepresented in public life, on television and in the consideration of customer services across industries.

It is disappointing that the BFI team did not have sufficient training to appropriately deal with this incident, which allegedly involved a person with autism being removed from one of their cinemas for laughing too much.  

As a society, we must appreciate that investment and change is required on an organisational level to bring an end to discrimination against people with learning disabilities and autism.

We would be keen to speak with BFI to offer advice on how to roll out robust autism awareness training across their organisation, and particularly to Front of House staff, who are at the frontline of keeping our cultural institutions open, safe and inclusive.

We hope, with time and training, more venues such as BFI can learn to accept, welcome and celebrate the diversity of their audiences. Laughing is not a crime. Discrimination is.