A woman went viral last week after sharing three “disgusting” movie theater “secrets” with her social media followers.
Posting under the username Incorrect Harry Potter, Lauren Taylor shared the “secrets” in a Facebook reel, writing: “Chances are you will consume bugs.” The post has amassed over 23,000 likes and nearly 3,000 comments from viewers who pushed back against Taylor’s “false” claims about movie theater cleanliness. You can view the reel here.
Movie Theater Cleaning Standards
In response to the pandemic, movie theaters were forced to increase their sanitation standards in 2020. According to Varietytheaters were disinfected after every screening, and misters, foggers and a large swath of chemicals were used to clean “any surfaces where virus particles might collect.”
Last year, after the CDC said the risk of surface transmission for COVID-19 was small, the National Association of Theater Owners did away with some of these standards, stating it was fine for theaters to be cleaned “once a day,” Variety said. Still, many theater companies continue to follow rigorous cleaning standards.
AMC Theaters, for example, says it “continues to meet or exceed state and local mandates” regarding COVID-19 policies, and boasts a relationship with the Clorox Safer Today Alliance—a coalition designed to create “healthier” public spaces.
Meanwhile, Cinemark says its restrooms are cleaned every 30 minutes and promises auditoriums are “cleaned before every showtime.”
Despite all this, however, Taylor claimed movie theaters are “disgusting.”
Movie Theater “Secrets”
“Three disgusting secrets movie theaters don’t want you to know,” Taylor said at the beginning of her video. In the text’s overlay, she added a disclaimer that read: “Don’t watch if you ever want to enjoy them again.”
First, Taylor claimed that the popcorn machines “do not get cleaned.”
“All we do is take a dry brush that we leave right on the counter, sometimes on the floor…and just scrape the oil off the bottom…yeah, never washed,” she said. “Leftover residue, oil, flies just get pushed around and baked right onto that bottom where the popcorn touches.”
“That’s movie theater flavor you’re tasting,” she said before she switched topics.
She then warned that movie theater seats aren’t washed either.
“Lice? Maybe. Sweaty, stinky heads that have been out in the sun all day and then come see a film? Absolutely,” she said.
Finally, Taylor alleged that ice machines, like everything else on her list, are “disgusting.”
“We just put new ice in there, we never wash them out. Sometimes there’s bugs in it, my guy.”
The video attracted many theater employees who swore that most, if not all of Taylor’s information, was “false.”
“Former movie theater manager. The only thing true is the seats not getting washed. But the popcorn maker [and] ice machine definitely get washed every day,” Chelsea Connelly said.
“When I worked [at a movie theater] We cleaned the popcorn machine, soda machine, and floors every day. That’s so gross,” Amanda Turman wrote.
Kristin Cooper added: “I’ve worked in multiple theaters for multiple chains—the sensational information she’s pushing is FALSE. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. With butter and pop machines things would get too dirty and disgusting if they weren’t cleaned daily .”
Newsweek has reached out to Lauren Taylor for comment.
Other Viral Moments
Last month, a movie theater usher went viral after posting a picture of a “filthy” auditorium covered in popcorn.
“I hate my job sometimes omg…if you do this at a cinema I hate you I’m sorry,” she tweeted.
Another disgruntled movie theater employee sparked a heated debate after they, too, posted a photo of a trashed theater to Twitter.
And in December, an usher shared a now-viral video, showing viewers all the odd things she found while cleaning an auditorium in between showtimes.