TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan — When you’re at the movies, the last thing you should be worried about are bugs creeping and crawling all over you, snacking away at your arms and legs.
However now it’s a concern for many movie fans at the AMC Empire 25 movie theater in Times Square after a slew of complaints about bed bugs.
“I’m a little shaken right now,” Dannette Campbell told PIX11 News upon hearing about the uninvited visitors.
The Brooklyn woman became uneasy thinking about returning to the theater to catch a matinee Monday afternoon.
“I’m not even excited to even go back in but I bought my ticket I don’t even know right now,” she said. “I’m praying I’m not the one to get the bed bug to come home with.”
According to numerous complaints in the past week, movie-goers at the theater have fallen victim to the nasty critters.
Bitten ticket holders like Onika Slocum have taken to social media to air out their grievances.
Slocum, a Newark resident, told PIX11 News she was bitten as many as six times on her arms and legs during a mid-day screening of “The Perfect Man” on Saturday.
“About half way through the movie I felt my right arm itching,” she recalled. When I checked my arm I felt 3 bites on my arm so I took my phone and I shined the light on the feet and saw the bugs crawling down the feet.”
Shocked by her discovery, Campbell alerted AMC management who took her back into the theater to take note of the seat she was sitting in and later, did not offer her a refund but instead “free movie passes.”
“It’s very inconvenient because not only did I have to pay to go over there, I had to pay for my ticket, and then the clothes I was wearing – I had to throw them out.”
This isn’t the first time this AMC movie theater has been the site of bed bug complaints. Back in 2010, the 42nd St. movie house was shut down after an apparent infestation.
“I can worry about so many things but bed bugs in a theater during a children’s show is not one of them,” said Sabrina Smith, who sat in on a matinee screening with her daughter Monday. “I guess we’re gonna have to check out clothes when we get home.”
In a statement to PIX11 News, AMC Theaters acknowledged the situation at Empire 25.
“As we’ve seen the last few years, bed bugs are an issue for several businesses in NYC and throughout the country,” AMC spokesperson Ryan Noonan said in a statement. “At AMC, we take aggressive, proactive steps, including regular inspections and inspections any time a bed bug is suspected. If any inspection comes back positive, the affected area is treated the same day by a third-party expert pest control company.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, increased proactive inspections are continuing at this location.”