A 37-year-old Austin man is suing a woman he says was texting while they were watching the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” on a date at a Texas movie theater.
Brandon Vezmar filed the lawsuit in Travis County small claims court on May 11, the Austin American-Statesman reports. He is seeking $17.31, the price of a ticket to the 3D showing of the popular movie.
Vezmar claims she was in “direct violation” of the theater’s policy and her actions “adversely” affected his viewing experience, the newspaper reports.
“While damages sought are modest, the principle is important as defendant’s behavior is a threat to civilized society,” he wrote in the court filing.
Crystal, a 35-year-old woman from Round Rock, who met Vezmar online, told the newspaper on May 16 when she learned about the lawsuit, “Oh my God. This is crazy.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Vezmar Says It Was the ‘First Date From Hell’ & She Used Her Phone 10 to 15 Times Before She Left the Theater
Brandon Vezmar said the date took place on May 6 at the Barton Creek Square theater, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
“It was kind of a first date from hell,” he told the newspaper. Vezmar said about 15 minutes after the movie began, his date took out her phone and began texting.”This is like one of my biggest pet peeves.”
Vezmar wrote in court filings that the woman “activated her phone at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages.” You can read his court filing below or by clicking here:
He said he asked her to stop or to go outside to text. She eventually left and did not come back, he told the newspaper. Vezmar said she left the theater in her car, and they had come to the movie together, so he was also left with out a ride, the newspaper reports.
“I said ‘listen, your texting is driving me a little nuts’ and she said ‘I can’t not text my friend.’ I said ‘maybe you can take it outside to the lobby, I’ve seen people get kicked out movies for this,” Vezmar told KVUE-TV.
According to Vezmar, he contacted the woman a few days later to ask for her to pay him back for the ticket.
He said on Twitter that he has received support from people around the country, including women.
“I filed my theater texting lawsuit because online dating etiquette is at such a low ebb it needs to be actively corrected. People know what I mean, which is part of why the story went viral. Enough is enough of the nut-job, self-centered, bizarro-land experiences,” he tweeted Tuesday.
He even got that attention of James Gunn, the writer and director of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” who tweeted, “Why stop at suing? She deserves jail time!”
Vezmar said on Twitter, “National media has been INCREDIBLY kind to me today. Thought blowback would be massive. Pretty much everyone, public included, supports me. Apart from serial killing is there anything lower than texting in a movie theater? Not surprised texting floozy is playing the victim. What an interesting day. Never been called hero so many times in my life. … My one word to the trolls: Are you the other assholes texting in the theater? May the men in your life stop giving you a free pass, too.”
2. The Woman Says She ‘Wasn’t Bothering Anybody’ & She Ended the Date After Vezmar Made Her Feel ‘Extremely Uncomfortable’
Crystal, a 35-year-old Round Rock woman who went on the date with Vezmar, spoke to the Austin American-Statesman, but said she does not want her name to be made public.
“I’m not a bad woman,” she told the newspaper. “I just went out on a date.”
The woman disputed Vezmar’s claim she texted 10 to 15 times, saying she did it only about two times, sending messages to a friend who was in a fight with her boyfriend.
“I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody,” she told the newspaper. “It wasn’t like constant texting.”
The woman also issued a statement to KVUE-TV:
I did have a very brief date with Brandon, that I chose to end prematurely. His behavior made me extremely uncomfortable, and I felt I needed to remove myself from the situation for my own safety. He has escalated the situation far past what any mentally healthy person would. I feel sorry that I hurt his feelings badly enough that he felt he needed to commit so much time and effort into seeking revenge. I hope one day he can move past this and find peace in his life.
She told the Statesman that Vezmar called her to ask her to pay him back for the ticket, but she refused because he took her out on a date.
The woman told the newspaper he tried to contact her younger sister to get his money back. She said she plans to file for a protective order against him.
Vezmar disputed that on Twitter:
Vezmar said on Twitter there is “Some fake news circulating. No protection order. Never contacted little sister for money. Totally false.”
3. Vezmar Is a ‘Political Communications Professional’ With a History of Working in Tech
Vezmar is a “seasoned political communications professional” and the president of The Messaging Company, according to his Linkedin profile. He is originally from Indiana and has also lived in Chicago before moving to Texas. He has a background working in the tech industry.
“The Messaging Company is as a full service communications consultancy and media services firm providing expert guidance on, and development and execution of, communications strategies for select clients throughout the business and political spheres,” he wrote on Linkedin. “Solutions are customized to the clients’ needs and implemented by a team assembled to meet them within the specified budget.”
Vezmar previously was a partner at the Vezmar Media Group, a family owned marketing and media services firm in the Chicago area, and was the managing director of multimedia services at Commonwealth Capital Advisors.
He graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in cultural studies in 2006.
Vezmar also started an organization called South Shore Security Now in August 2016, while living in Chicago.
“Developed to provide community-driven proposals to address the rising incidents of crime against riders on one of the nation’s largest commuter rail lines, the Chicagoland South Shore Line, South Shore Security Now advocates for 24-hour security for customers and their property while on Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District facilities,” he wrote on Linkedin.
And he started an anti-Apple project called Crapple.
“Crapple is an expression of one man’s belief that things can be different. A parody project and branded merchandise store, Crapple.io was created with the intention of airing tech grievances, having fun, and baiting Apple into being better,” he wrote on Linkedin.
4. He Called Chicago a ‘Hell on Earth for Any Thinking Person With a Modicum of Self-Respect’ in a Letter to the Editor
Vezmar created waves in Chicago this January with a letter to the editor titled, “I’m leaving Chicago, and I’m never coming back.”
He wrote in the letter, “For the last three-quarters of a year, I’ve been in the Chicago area on extended business and to care for my mother, who has been undergoing cancer treatment. In that time I’ve come to understand that Chicago, and its surrounding areas, have become hell on Earth for any thinking person with a modicum of self-respect.
According to Vezmar the “caustic combination of corrupt politicians with nothing but contempt for the public; a police force so broken down in spirit it visibly resents interaction with even law-abiding citizens; a criminal underclass empowered by the incessant drone of liberal rhetoric wandering the streets posing clear and present danger to everyone around them; and the enablers, who are everywhere, to say nothing of the ugly, decaying infrastructure, poor economy and joyless entertainment and leisure opportunities.”
He said he was the victim of two property thefts, three street harassment episodes downtown, a “brazen Michigan Avenue assault” and a “white privilege” lecture. He also said the kidnapping and torture of a teen and the “waffling” response from police in calling it a hate crime sealed his decision to leave.
Vezmar wrote, “Crime, stupidity, racism, conformity and the lowest common denominator across the entire spectrum of life have become normalized in Chicago. This has become an insane, dangerous, soul-destroying place, and I’ve had enough. I’m leaving Chicago, and I’m never coming back.”
5. Vezmar Wrote a Post on Medium Saying Trump Has Been Successfull Because He Can’t Be Stopped by the ‘Grievance Industry’
Vezmar also wrote a post on Medium in 2015 about then-candidate Donald Trump in which he said the now-president was finding success by not allowing the “grievance industry” to stop him.
“The grievance game is one of the left’s most effective tactics — it enables them to win battles of great importance without delivering, let alone developing, even the vestige of a rational argument — and he is upending it,” Vezmar wrote. “The playbook is predictable: You’re a racist. Through a million fantastical contortions of thought and language the left marshals a sense of outrage among the brainwashed hordes and elicits a sense of confusion, disempowerment, and shame from its cowering target by saying the same idiotic thing it has been saying since Obama got within a Potomac mile of the Oval Office: You’re a racist.”
Vezmar continued, “We live in an era of performance art — it has stolen the show. The GOP has for six years insisted on reciting — in rather monotonous tone, I might add — the facts relating to whatever topic is at hand to a crowd of revelers who are at home drinking a beer and enjoying a demolition derby. Perhaps what is making Trump so effective at just this moment — and the polls show that he is, right now, quite effective — is that he is using the game to play a better game, exploiting the ends-justify-the-means routine in a weird sideways-shifting curlicue movement in which he dangles a carrot over a pile of cynical discourse dung to beckon us out of the stench. Weird, I know.”
Vezmar spoke to The Detroit News in December during a post-election visit by Trump to Grand Rapids. He told the newspaper he was worried that Trump had softened on his stance on mass deportations.
“I think he does appear to be backpedaling on some issues,” Vezmar told the newspaper. “It’s important that the people hold him to account and follow through on his campaign promises.”
Vezmar was concerned at the time about the possibility Trump would appoint Mitt Romney as his secretary of state, a position that later went to Rex Tillerson.
“He didn’t campaign as a centrist, so he needs to stop setting up his Cabinet as one,” Vezmar said.
Vezmar clarified his thoughts on Trump in a series of tweets after this report was published.
“I did not support Trump at time of writing ‘Icebreaker’ (his 2015 Medium post) though I did intimate in it just days after he declared that he would become Pres., which was insightful TO SAY THE LEAST,” he said on Twitter. “I did not support Trump throughout entire campaign. … This is not to say I haven’t liked Trump or things about Trump at times, but I’m not lockstep as characterized, no.”