When Jean Telfer went to a preview screening of a new movie Wednesday night, she didn’t expect that she’d come out with an injured shoulder and a bump on her head.
Telfer and her friend Elaine Wong were at a Cineplex theatre at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s film The Magnificent 7. Sony had rented the theatre for the screening and hired a private security company.
Halfway through the film, Telfer decided to leave because she found the movie to be too violent.
“When I left the theatre I heard someone yelling behind me, ‘Sir! Sir!’ I didn’t think much of it,” said Telfer.
“Out of nowhere I felt someone grab me from behind. My reaction [was] to get this person off of me. Unfortunately it did escalate and he did somehow get on top of me.”
She said the guard pinned her down and squeezed on her wrists so tightly she could feel the pain from his grip all night. She said she also suffered a bump on her head and a muscle strain in her back and neck that she says has limited her mobility. Telfer says she was checked out by a doctor and a physiotherapist the day after the incident.
“I don’t know what happened. He didn’t tell me who he was. He never told me what the problem was,” said Telfer.
Telfer said once she was freed, she was so distraught that she walked away. Wong, unaware of what had happened to her friend, left the theatre shortly after to find Telfer.
Wong said a guard approached her and little explanation was given except that the security guards had been watching them all night and that something on the guards’ heat sensor guns had gone off. She added that they attempted to search her bag.
According to security expert Ross McLean, guards can make a citizen’s arrest if they have grounds to believe that a crime was committed on a property they were hired to protect. However only police can search someone’s property unless they suspect a weapon is in someone’s possession.
The women deny that they tried to record the film and aren’t sure why heat sensors went off on them, making them the subject of the guards’ suspicion.
“What’s really strange is that we left before the good part, right before the third act was starting. If you’re going to pirate a movie, you’re going to at least wait until a lot of people start dying,” said Wong.
Telfer and Wong said they were escorted out by two mall security guards – from a different security company – and informed the guards that they were willing to wait until police arrived. They said no police arrived and police later told them that no one from the movie theatre called them.
Sony Pictures Entertainment wouldn’t confirm to Global News the name of the security company which they hired for the event. Sony and its third-party security company refused to comment.
Telfer and Wong are disturbed by the incident and filed a police report Thursday evening.
“I feel like I’m never going to go to the movies again. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel comfortable,” said Telfer. “You go to the movies to relax, but it became horrible. It was terrifying.”