Movie theater chain Cinemark is facing intense backlash after demanding nearly $700,000 from victims of the 2012 Aurora, Colo., shooting, which left 12 dead and dozens injured during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
The Denver Post reports Cinemark has filed what's known as a "bill of claim" after winning a lawsuit brought by a group of Aurora shooting survivors and families of those killed in the attack, which alleged the company's lack of surveillance cameras, exit-door alarms, and security personnel allowed gunman James Holmes to plan and carry out his assault on the the theater uninterrupted. According to the Post, a similar federal case was also ruled in Cinemark's favor.
Now, Cinemark has asked the group to cover the company's $699,187.13 in legal fees—something Colorado courts reportedly allow. Nevertheless, it's a move many see as vindictive and crass, considering the trauma already experienced by victims of the attack.
Already, a movement to #BoycottCinemark has sprung up across social media, with critics slamming the company for the maneuver.
Even California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has joined in, calling the company's move "shameful."
A number of Aurora victims involved in the federal case reportedly chose to drop their claims, in part over fears that Cinemark would hit them with the same sort of demand to repay legal fees currently being asked of the group behind the civil suit.
However, the Post notes that Cinemark's request must first be approved by a judge, and similar bills of claim have been used to dissuade losing lawsuit parties from filing an appeal.
On social media, meanwhile, Cinamark seemed focused on benign customer service, rather than addressing the growing chorus of complaints over their post-lawsuit demands.
In response to the company's tweet, one user simply wrote : "why would I go to Cinemark? I might get shot, and if I do #Cinemark would sue me. Shame on you."