Father Thrown Out of Universal Studios Over T-Shirt
By Elise Solé
03 September 2013
Photo: NBC 5
A teenager's Sweet 16 birthday party was cut short recently when she and her family were kicked out of a Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla. The reason? Her father's T-shirt.
According to WPTV, a local news station in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 24, Christian Jarosz, his wife, Diana, their daughter, Sabrina, and her friend were stopped by security while they were headed to the Blue Man Group show inside the theme park. "They kicked me out because of my T-shirt," Christian told WPTV.
The shirt in question: a navy blue T with the word "Police" and underneath, "Street Crime Unit." Christian is not a police officer, but his brother, a New York cop, had given him the shirt as a gift. Although Christian says he has previously worn the shirt to Disney World as well as to other theme parks, officers stopped him to say he could not wear the shirt in the park.
The family asked to see the policy in writing and questioned the order. They also offered to have the security officers follow them to Billabong, a clothing store inside the park, so they could buy another T-shirt. However, more security officers showed up and told Christian not to bother buying another shirt because he needed to leave the park.
The family left the park, and although they were refunded the $500 they spent on tickets for Blue Man Group, they say they won't return to Universal Studios. "They even threatened to arrest us. That really terrified me. I run a school! I've never done anything against the law," Diana told WPTV.
Yahoo Shine could not reach the Jarosz family for comment and a rep from Universal Studios did not return Yahoo Shine's email; however, a spokesperson for Universal Studios Florida emailed the following statement to WPTV: "The only people we allow in our parks with shirts or other clothing that might identify them as police officers are working law enforcement personnel. This is for everyone's safety and to avoid confusion by our guests. And while we don't discuss specific guest situations, I can tell you it is our practice to clearly explain policy decisions to our guests — and it is not our practice to ask guests to leave our theme parks simply because they ask us questions. I'd invite these guests to contact us if they'd like to have a conversation about what happened."
There's been no shortage of T-shirts bearing controversial statements recently. In January, NBC reported that while on a Qantas flight from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand, a man named Wynand Mullins was asked to remove his T-shirt, which read, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." The phrase is a popular quote from the 1987 film "The Princess Bride." Mullins told Stuff, a news outlet in New Zealand, that a flight attendant asked him to remove his shirt because passengers were intimidated by the slogan but that she let the matter drop when he told her that he didn't have another shirt.
This past April, following the fatal bombings at the Boston Marathon, Nike realized that one of its T-shirts for New York Yankees fans — which bore the words "Boston Massacre" along with blood spatter—had disastrous timing. The company quickly pulled the product from store shelves, but not before photos of the shirt appeared online. And most recently, in August, online retailer the Children's Place pulled a girls' T-shirt from its shelves after a public outcry over the shirt's slogan, which had a checklist that read, "My Best Subjects: Shopping. Music. Dancing. Math." All the boxes were checked off except "Math."