Woman in audience maces man for demanding she switch off her phone

Woman in audience maces man for demanding she switch off her phone


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2014

It happened this week at a Hollywood screening of Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’, but you could imagine the same at a concert or opera. Perhaps we should all agree to surrender our phones at the door.

concert phones


  • Simon S. says:

    “Perhaps we should all agree to surrender our phones at the door.”


    • Gerald Churchill says:

      1. I do not need to surrender my phone at the door. I am mature enough not to use it during the performance.

      2. Surrendering phones at the door creates other complications, such as the house making sure that phones are properly taken care of and not lost or broken.

      3. Security took 15 minutes to arrive and expel the woman? Where were they coming from? Mars?

      • SVM says:

        Suppose that the probability of the typical ‘mature’ person accidentally forgetting to extinguish their mobile telephone at a concert is 0·1%. Assuming that everyone in the audience is ‘mature’ and brings a mobile telephone, this means that, in an audience of 2000, you can expect 2 mobile telephones to be accidentally on — the probability of none being on, using a binomial model, would be only 13·52%, which is another way of saying that in almost seven in every eight concerts, at least one telephone will be accidentally on.

        A mobile telephone that is accidentally on is susceptible to disrupting a concert, irrespective of intent (and in a two-hour evening timespan, the probability of a typical mobile telephone receiving at least one call, message, or other audible alert is pretty high).

        Whilst an audience-size of 2000 might be on the large side, I still reckon my estimates of the risk of disruption are underestimates, in view of the fact that there are usually some people who are not ‘mature’, or, somebody who does not know how to control their brand new device (cf. the alarm that went off during an NY Phil performance of Mahler 9).

        This leads me, and many others, to the conclusion that trusting people — even ‘mature’ people — to remember to extinguish their telephone still leaves an unacceptable risk of disruption. I normally either leave my mobile telephone in the cloakroom (if the cloakroom is free) or remove the battery (fortunately, I have a telephone where this is easy to do), then keep the battery or cloakroom tag (as applicable) in a trouser-pocket that I can easily check just before the conductor walks on the stage.

  • Prewartreasure says:

    Oh gawd – has this over-hyped nonsense called ‘Mr Turner’ reached the US?

    I sat through it (just) out of courtesy to the person I took to the cinema.

  • SC says:

    Absolutely agree about “Mr Turner”: I had hoped that Mike Leigh would repeat his period skill, as shown in “Topsy Turvy”. No such luck. BBC mummers kitsch and a long afternoon I will never get back.

    • Hilary says:

      Beautiful cinematography and attention to period detail but this felt interminable and I wasn’t convinced by Spall’s portrayal of Turner. Don’t undersrtand all the official praise which has been heaped upon ‘Mr.Turner’

  • V.Lind says:

    The woman should have been arrested for assault. And public nuisance.

    • Mikey says:

      The article does say that security removed her from the theatre, we don’t know whether or not police were involved. What she did WAS a physical assault and she very well could have been arrested and charged.

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Another example of civility in decline.

  • Richard Hallam says:

    Leave your phone at the door, but Mace is welcome! What sort of madness is that?

  • V.Lind says:

    It’s America. Be thankful she wasn’t carrying a gun.

  • Gary says:

    Cell phone jammer…