Iowa Yoga Instructor Beat Up Fellow Moviegoer for 'Ruining the Film' By Using His Phone, Police Say

On Sunday, an Iowa theater patron was arrested on misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges stemming from an incident which took place at a September 2019 showing of the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.

Nicholas Glasgow, 34, a yoga instructor, allegedly made contact with Marcus Sycamore Theater staff before the movie began to complain about a fellow patron's cell phone usage.

According to the arrest affidavit, during his conversation with the employees Glasgow told them to "take care" of the victim's behavior or "he would."

After the movie's showing concluded, Glasgow allegedly approached the victim and his friend and told them to apologize to him for "ruining the movie" for him.

The victim told officers that before he could react, Glasgow punched him in the face with a closed fist. The two began fighting, and the victim, who had been in a seated position, wound up on the ground—where Glasgow began to kick him.

After the incident, the victim reported "swelling, soreness, and redness to his face" and that he "had his eyeglasses broken" during the fight, according to the affidavit. He had also suffered multiple cuts. The report added that he sought a no-contact order against Glasgow, and noted that the cost of his damaged glasses was below $250.

The Wrap reports that Glasgow, who was quickly identified by theater employees due to his being a regular Tuesday night patron at that location, was released from Johnson County jail on Monday morning after spending the night there.

Newsweek reached out to the Marcus Sycamore Theater at which the assault allegedly took place, but did not hear back at press time.

phone in theater
An Iowa yoga instructor has been arrested on misdemeanor charges after a September fistfight which took place after a showing of the Oscar nominated motion picture "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood" over the victim's alleged in-theater cellphone usage. Getty

Cell phone usage in theaters—whether they be mall multiplex chains or Broadway show palaces—has become a controversial matter for both patrons and theater owners alike as the technological age marches forward.

Some Broadway theaters have begun to solve the issue of cell phone usage during shows by locking attendee's phones with Yondr, a mobile phone pouch which keeps the device unusable while within the environment of the theater.

This measure is a response to a handful of recent controversial cell phone-related incidents on the Great White Way in 2019, ranging from actor Jarrod Spector tweeting his disapproval to Kanye West mid-performance for West's choice to use his cell phone during the opening night of The Cher Show, to an audience member earning the ire of Audra McDonald for taking a flash photograph of her naked during the opening scene of a July performance of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

One of the more infamous of these incidents happened in 2015, when Patti LuPone, a longtime critic of cell phone usage and photography within live theater environs, reached down and plucked a cell phone from the hands of a patron during an evening performance of Shows for Days and walked offstage with it. The patron got their phone back at the end of the show.

Two recent incidents of violence within movie theaters, meanwhile, shows that Glasgow isn't the only audience member annoyed by in-theater cell phone usage.

In August, two women assaulted a man in a Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Cinemark theater when he requested they not use their cellphones during a showing. They allegedly retaliated by pulling his hair twice as he tried to flee the argument.

A Columbia, South Carolina woman went to the hospital in May of 2018 after fighting with another patron over the victim's cell phone usage during a movie. The suspect claims that the victim "freaked out" on and assaulted her after she requested the victim stop using her phone during the movie but checked it once more during the closing credits. The victim alleges that the suspect told her to check her phone in the bathroom during the first incident, then when the victim checked her phone during the credits the suspect threw her popcorn at the victim and said "really? Again?"

The victim said she "reacted by swinging her arms" at the popcorn bag, which resulted in her striking the suspect in the face with her cell phone, and the suspect subsequently attacking her.

The victim did not have any notable physical injuries and refused medical treatment, while the suspect bore a cut on her nose and accepted transport to a local hospital. A witness later corroborated the suspect's story, according to the police report. There is no word if charges were later filed in the case.