Theater community upset at AT&T tweet suggesting patrons watch their smartphone during a show (UPDATE)

Theater community upset at AT&T tweet suggesting patrons watch their smartphone during a show (UPDATE)
The theater community across the U.S. is up in arms about a tweet sent out by AT&T. The tweet shows someone at a theater using his smartphone to watch a football game while the show is in progress. "Catch a winning play at the theater," AT&T says. "Don’t let life get between you and football." In this day and age when theaters are having problems getting patrons to put away their smartphones during a performance, it seems that AT&T's tweet struck a discordant note with actors. Many of them tweeted back to AT&T.

Among those who tweeted their displeasure with the mobile operator are Andy Mientus, who portrayed the Jonathan Larson-esque playwright Kyle Bishop on television's Smash and Sex and the City 2's Max von Essen. One tweet, from the entire production of Tony Award winner A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, twisted around AT&T's words by saying, "Don't let football get between you and life."

Will AT&T have a response? Stay tuned!


Thanks for the tip, Michael!

source: Playbill

UPDATE: AT&T reached out to us and gave us the following statement: "Certainly it's evident our ads take place in an alternate reality and are not meant to be taken literally. The broad concept of the campaign is that you see content just about anywhere." And you can't disagree with that last sentence. Hopefully the statement will lead to the ceremonial smoking of the peace pipe between AT&T and the theater community.

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12 Comments

1. Bjray

Posts: 199; Member since: May 29, 2014

Seems a bit of an overreaction.

12. ToscasKiss

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

It's simply an appropriately disapproving reaction, made by the many people tired of being vexed by rude audience behavior (much of which behavior does not involve phones, but much of which does). Seeing a huge corporation (which in my town has its name on three of the main performance venues, including the main opera house) suggest such behavior is cause for speaking up.

2. JMartin22

Posts: 2372; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I can see why people might think the ad is a bit stupid and perhaps inconsiderate, but the overreaction sounds like a political scandal lol.

3. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Certainly it's evident that some in the theater community live in an alternate reality where everything is taken literally.

13. ToscasKiss

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

How is one to interpret the ad's photo? It's very clear, and it portrays a situation that is already FAR too present in this reality. Believe me, we don't need more people seeing an ad like that, reinforcing, or inspiring for a first time, really unacceptable actions.

5. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Oh no! We sure can't have something as elitist as the Broadway theatre (spelled that way to make them happy) upset...ESPECIALLY with something as "redneck" as football. Bunch of whiny up in the nose social upper crust idiots.

8. matistight

Posts: 997; Member since: May 13, 2009

Simply, the point is he was forced to go to the theater. So what they should say is 1)STOP FORCING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO GO TO A THEATER PERFORMANCE THEY DON'T WANT TO SEE, ESPECIALLY ON A SUNDAY, and 2) use your phone in the theater just dim your got damn screen.

14. ToscasKiss

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

"Elitist"? "Redneck"? "Whiny up in the nose social upper crust idiots"? You clearly aren't going to the same live performances I'm going to. I couldn't even begin to afford a ticket to our local NFL games, and I see a lot of theater (don't care how you spell it, but "theater" is the journalistic default spelling in the U.S.), for which I pay anywhere from nothing, to very little, to sometimes a lot (for me~we're not talking Broadway hit prices). In all cases, if someone is disruptive, messing up the performance for me, other audience members, or for the performers, that's just basic rudeness. There's nothing elitist about objecting to that, or to objecting to a huge corporation encouraging it. And in this town, "social upper crust" is mostly seriously into football; I won't judge whether or not they are idiots.

9. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

When folks use their phone in a theater I confront them, in public, and in a manner thats very embarrassing for them. If I can get my kids to shut up, an adult can keep their hands out of their pockets. If you need to peek: Leave. Or get embarrassed. Some folks aren't meek, PC bootlickers who are more afraid of being ostracized than doing whats right.

10. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I like AT&T's response. Basically, "STFU morons, it's just a freaking ad."

15. ToscasKiss

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

It's a lousy response to a reasonable objection to "just a freaking ad."

11. ToscasKiss

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

Wow. Most of the comments here seem to come from somewhat clueless folks. Of course AT&T's ad is just an ad, but its message, through its not just implied, but portrayed suggestion was perfectly clear. And that suggestion is extremely rude, selfish, anti-social behavior. Whatever the performance, whatever the venue, audiences should be polite and attentive, and do nothing that will impede fellow audiences from experiencing the performance. Where audience participation is appropriate, go for it! Otherwise, be quiet and give yourself over to the show. (And if the show is painful for you, suffer in silence until you can politely get away, and then do so.)

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