A Palm Beach County man says his family was ejected from Universal Studios in Orlando because his T-shirt contained the word “police” and he’s not a law enforcement officer.
The incident happened Aug. 24, when Christian Jarosz and his family were celebrating his daughter’s 16th birthday.
The Palm Beach Post reports the shirt was a gift from Jarosz’s brother, who is a retired police officer in New York. Jarosz says he’s worn the shirt to other theme parks without incident. The words “police” and “street crimes unit” are printed on the back.
According to Jarosz, the family was on the way to watch a performance of the Blue Man Group when a Universal security guard stopped them.
“You can’t wear that shirt in here,” Jarosz said he was told by the guard. The guard said he was citing park policy.
Jarosz and his wife requested to see a copy of the policy, but he says they “never cursed or got loud.”
At that point, Jarosz said he went to a nearby shop to buy a new shirt. But as he prepared to purchase it, he was surrounded by security guards and told not to bother.
“You guys are out of here,” he said the guards told him. He said they told him the family was being “disruptive.” He said they were threatened with arrest if they refused to leave.
Alyson Lundell, Universal Studios director of public relations, told the Post that park security handled the situation properly.
“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,” she said. “This is for everyone’s safety and to avoid confusion by our guests.”
While she wouldn’t respond specifically to questions about the incident, Lundell said they clearly explain policy decisions to guests. “And it is not our practice to ask guests to leave our theme parks because they ask us questions.”
Jarosz said after repeated calls to Universal officials, he went to the Orlando area media with his story. Since then, he’s heard from an official in guest relations who apologized for the family’s treatment.