MI Woman Ejected From DTE Concert w/ Baby Claims Discrimination [VIDEO]
A woman and her 1-year-old daughter were ejected from a concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre earlier this month. Her daughter has been pre-diagnosed with autism and she's claiming discrimination, but is that really the case?
Since this incident had such a lengthy explanation, we'll place the woman's initial post at the bottom of this article and just address the major points here. If you want to read her full complaint, jump below first and then read the article. Also, this is going to be an opinion-heavy article, so please remember that I only speak for myself and the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Banana 101.5 or Townsquare Media, blah blah blah...
As an industry insider of sorts, I'm privy to more information about how concerts venues operate and such than the average person -- so my take on this may be a little different than others, but just hear me out. The core of Jessica's argument is that she and her daughter were discriminated against by the venue, which, based on several points she makes herself, are invalid. I'll address them point by point.
"DTE employees roadblocked us from getting Arabella into the meet and greet with Lady Antebellum! They told us that the meet and greet was over by the time we arrived at 6:40 p.m."
Meet and greets are always at very specific times and if you're not there -- you're out of luck. Sometimes there are communication breakdowns between the artist and the promoter of said opportunity and people miss their chance... a lot. It's not a perfect system, but it's the best that anyone can do. Sometimes, the artist will change the times last minute and if you can't get a hold of the people... you can figure out the rest. That's why you're usually instructed to get there fairly early.
"Prior to being seated we gained permission to take Arabella's stroller down to our seats. We explained her prediagnosis of Autism and Sensory issues and that sitting in her stroller for most of the show would be the safest thing we could do for her in that big of a crowd."
I love concerts. I go to a ton of them. However, as soon as I had kids -- it was either find a babysitter or don't go. That's why some venues and shows have age limits. In my experience, any baby would be uncomfortable (that's putting it mildly) in front of that many people. The incredibly loud music is enough to cause hearing damage to grown adults, let alone children. Not everyone agrees with this stance, but a major concert like this, especially with how people drink at these things, is no place for a baby.
"The event supervisor approved us to be seated WITH the stroller."
Granted, you did your due diligence and asked for permission ahead of time, which is the responsible thing to do... and you're not wrong here. However, knowing the general rules most places have for your safety and their own liability issues -- it sounds like the "event supervisor" was misinformed of the situation or just flat out granted you permission when he shouldn't have. That's why there are multiple different people policing these things. Again, not a perfect system, but it works a majority of the time.
"Once we got to our seats one of the DTE employees got a hair up her rear end and told me that I would have to hold Arabella for the entire show, and fold up the stroller and put it under our feet."
The employee is absolutely correct on this one. There are several reasons you can't do this. For one -- it obstructs the walkway and if there's a fire or something... it won't play out well. Not to mention all the drunks stumbling down those stairs not expecting there to be a baby-filled stroller they could bump into... and then what happens? Gravity, tragedy and lawsuits galore. No one wants any of those things to happen.
"Dave went to go and get some things out of the car that we forgot he was gone maybe 20 minutes. During that time I fed Arabella and we listened to some of the opening performances."
This isn't that big of a deal, but part of it will be important in a minute. Also, I wonder if they asked for special consideration at the gate, because most of the time -- there is no re-entry at these type of concerts.
"By the time I got done feeding her we were getting swarmed by approximately four to five additional DTE employees. I tried to explain the situation to them and that we had permission, and the original person that had a problem with me came back up to all of us in the group and started calling me out saying that I was a bad mother for even having my child at this concert and yelling about ear plugs! And another employee threw some at us! (First of all Dave Brown was on his was back with some....) Which in turn started some of the other patrons and calling me a bad mom and trying to get in my face. But you know what? Those other DTE employees even though they were witnessing all of this didn't care about that. They continued harassing me about the stroller and we continued standing our ground and telling them to go talk to the person who gave us permission."
DTE employees being rude is not something we condone, but these things happen. They have to deal with drunks and people that disregard their safety and others' all day and likely thought that was the case here. Plus, you were up close at a concert feeding a baby that has no ear plugs (while bands have been performing already) and impeding the walkway. How could you be blind to the fact that many people could perceive that as irresponsible and potentially dangerous?
"I then got so frustrated I just picked up Arabella and held her in my arms so that we could stay at the concert! And everybody could have went about their own way...Guess what they did next?! Not only did they kick us out of DTE, but they also called the Oakland County Sheriff's on us!... Who then escorted us out of the Theater!"
The employees likely deferred to the police because they were concerned about your child and did not wish to debate you any further on the issue, but that's mere speculation. Who knows? Maybe this was overkill, but there's already a lot of behavior that could be perceived as irresponsible and it's still fairly early in the evening.
We kept trying to explain to them that this was never about the adults, that this was an event specifically given to Arabella! We explain to them that we were there as guests of 99.5 WYCD and Lady Antebellum. But they just did not care!
This is a common misconception about radio stations. At any big venue like this, we don't get carte blanche. Nobody cares that the radio station gave you tickets and they certainly don't care about why that happened. Radio stations usually get these tickets from the artist or the venue, but they rarely afford you special treatment. If they do -- you will most definitely be notified in advance. Going in there with radio tickets and assuming you can do as you please is a Cousin Eddy move (see 'Christmas Vacation' if you don't get the reference). Like the old lady in the Esurance commercial says to her friend with a severe misunderstanding of social media, "That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works."
"PLEASE CLICK SHARE! If not for Arabella, but for the next person who just might need that accommodation. There are laws that protect us and they violated those. This was taken to the extreme and uncalled for. DTE could have easily resolved this by putting us in the wheelchair area, instead they chose to destroy a 1 year olds first concert."
I'm not a legal expert, but I'm pretty sure they did not violate any laws. Discrimination is very real, very ugly and very ignorant. As someone who has a more informed view of the inner-workings of live concerts -- I think their actions have nothing to do with your daughter and everything to do with your actions. Just the fact that you are pushing this via social media asking people to share and using #LetsMakeThisViral screams desperation and paints a fairly vivid picture of your reaction to the DTE staff.
Let's say that, God forbid, something bad happened as a result of some them letting you slide on the regularly enforced policies from which you hoped to be and assumed you were exempt. Would you rally this hard online for the DTE Energy Music Theatre, who would no doubt be on the hook for a liability lawsuit because they violated rules for you? If so, good on you. Even if that is the case, it doesn't change the fact that you're trying to turn what was likely a communication breakdown into a media circus under the umbrella of discrimination.
DTE is an established venue that has hard and fast policies on these things. Because of insurance reasons, they have to be careful as to what they allow and what they don't and most of the time it is done with people's safety in mind. Concerts at county fairs and such might let these things slide because they're one-off events and happen rather infrequently, but DTE does them day in and day out, all summer long. While some may attack their job with too much exuberance, which is true of any place of employment, as a guest in their establishment I understand that their rules are likely in place for a reason and accept that I have to follow them or I'm subject to ejection... and that should be the same for everybody. Seeing a concert is not a right, it's a privilege and should be treated as such.
My apologies if this seems rude or unnecessary, but always remember that there is more than one side to a story. Asking people to take DTE to task for, basically, doing their jobs is inviting this kind of criticism. It sucks that things happened the way they did and it didn't pan out like you wanted it to, but that's the way things go sometimes. I'd love to prop a La-Z-Boy in the photo pit while Pearl Jam takes the stage, but I know that it's against the rules... and I certainly wouldn't play the victim card and try to go viral when the employees of whatever venue they're playing wake me up from that pipe dream. Reinforcing the belief that a venue is wrong for enforcing the rules that keep people safe is probably the most irresponsible thing written, suggested or implied by this entire situation.
Again, my apologies, Jessica. Normally, I would leave names out of a story like this, but you're, quite literally, putting it out there and asking for attention -- so I'm giving it attention. I wish I could side with you against "the man" on this one (something I'm usually all about) and I do believe you feel that you were treated unfairly, but people need to understand that the rules are there for a reason. That's my two cents, anyway.