SUSSEX, ENGLAND (CelebrityAccess) A deaf woman who took her daughter and a friend to see Little Mix in Sussex, England, is issuing legal proceedings against the promoter for failure to make reasonable adjustments for her disability.
Sally Reynolds told the BBC in an exclusive interview that she is suing LHG Live for not providing a sign language interpreter for the entire performance. The Little Mix show was at the South of England Event Centre Sept. 1.
Reynolds said she bought six tickets to the show. She attended it with two deaf friends and their daughters, all of whom could hear. Reynolds’ daughter, 8-year-old Cate and friend Megan are big fans of Little Mix, having T-shirts, photo albums, and CDs of the girl group and can even mimic the dance routines, according to the BBC.
Reynolds said she asked LHG Live to provide a British Sign Language interpreter but instead was offered “carer tickets” and told she could bring her own interpreter.
Reynolds did not consider that “full access”: England’s Equity Act of 2010 requires any organization to provide reasonable adjustments to ensure a disabled person’s experience is as close to that of someone who is not disabled. Reynolds took “an unprecedented legal step,” according to the BBC and, days before the concert, instructed attorneys to apply for a court injunction to force LHG Live to provide an interpreter.
“We asked two or three times, please can you provide the interpreter for us, and the explanation we got back was just a ‘no,’” she told the BBC. “It didn’t have any reason behind it and eventually we became so frustrated. … I wanted to share the same experience my daughter had – essentially I just wanted access to the songs.”
LHG Live agreed to the request hours before the concert but, although an interpreter was provided through the company Performance Interpreting, the interpreter was only booked for the headliner and not available for the opening acts.
“I felt that we were really part of the Little Mix experience,” said Reynolds said, “but because it was so good I realized that we had missed out on the first two acts. … We only got access to the last act. If you went to a film can you imagine only getting access to the last 20 minutes?”
LHG Live told the BBC: “We received a request from Sally Reynolds to supply an interpreter. We consulted with her recommended agency and agreed to provide the professional interpreter of her choice for the Little Mix show. This included specific staging and lighting, and a set list in advance.”
Chris Frey, managing partner of Fry Law and attorney for Reynolds, told the BBC, “People with sensory impairment actually want to attend musical and sporting events just as anybody else does. … The fact that you have a hearing impairment or sight loss doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be at the event.”
A spokesman for Little Mix also weighed in, saying, “Little Mix strongly believe their concerts should be completely inclusive for all. The band welcome all fans to their shows, including those with hearing impairment, and encourage the promoters they work with to make provisions to ensure their fans can enjoy the concert experience.”