|TRENTON – Through the efforts of Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Division on Civil Rights, a disabled 8-year-old pro wrestling fan will have the chance to see his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) heroes compete at a WWE event this coming Saturday, December 28, at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Waldwick resident Chant Macleod and his son Brennan, who suffers from cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair for mobility, share a love of WWE wrestling, and the elder Macleod is a member of the WWE Fan Council. By virtue of that membership, Macleod was invited in October to purchase tickets for the Dec. 28 WWE event through an on-line presale. However, despite repeated efforts, Macleod found himself unable to access tickets for wheelchair-accessible event seating at the Prudential Center.
“This was an unfortunate situation that, owing to Mr. Macleod’s advocacy and the readiness of the three entities – WWE, Ticketmaster and the Prudential Center -- to work with us toward a solution, has a happy ending,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman.
“Being disabled and using a wheelchair should never be an impediment to someone enjoying a public sporting or entertainment event,” Hoffman said. “We’re happy to have been able to get involved, get things moving and ensure that this young man and his family will have a chance to enjoy a very special event they’ve been looking forward to attending.”
When Macleod first entered Ticketmaster’s Web site in October and tried to order three tickets – one each for himself, his wife and their disabled son – there was no option offered for the purchase of wheelchair accessible seating. Information on the Web site instructed Macleod to submit an on-line request for wheelchair-accessible seating, and stated that someone would contact him within an hour. After two hours passed, Macleod called Ticketmaster, and was told it could take several days to process his request because Ticketmaster needed to contact Prudential.
Over the ensuing seven days, Macleod tried unsuccessfully to obtain wheelchair-accessible tickets for the WWE event through repeated calls to Ticketmaster and the Prudential Center.
Although the representatives he spoke with tried to assist him, he told the Division, no tickets materialized. Macleod then contacted the Division on Civil Rights. Within days of a follow-up overture by the Division to a Ticketmaster attorney in California, Macleod received three tickets for wheelchair-accessible seating to the Dec. 28 event.
In addition to receiving the tickets, Macleod has since been contacted directly by WWE, which has added its “VIP Experience” to his tickets, Macleod told the Division. Among other things, fans who participate in the VIP Experience receive commemorative WWE souvenir items, are invited backstage, and may have the opportunity to meet WWE wrestlers, according to the WWE Web site.
“We’re thrilled that Brennan and his parents will have a memorable family entertainment experience together, and that a disability did not stand in the way,” said Division Director Craig T. Sashihara.
“This is a great example of the public and private sectors partnering together to bring joy to a young New Jersey resident,” Sashihara said. “We thank the Prudential Center, Ticketmaster, and WWE officials for continuing to work with us to resolve accessible seating issues. We all share a common goal of making sure that these great events can be enjoyed by everyone. We look forward to working with them to ensure, going forward, that all persons have equal access to pre-sale and regular-sale tickets for future events."