The Calgary owners of the Towne 8 Cinema say the movie house was linked wrongly to a bed bug infestation last month by a Global Winnipeg Television news report.
Landmark Cinemas of Canada Inc. said two complete scans of the Exchange District property over the past month failed to find any trace of bed bugs.
"Anytime someone has any kind of rumour like that it's just bad for business because inevitably there are people who believe it and people who think, 'I'm not going to risk it, I'm not going to go there just in case,'" said Nathan Cooney, Landmark Cinemas director of operations.
Cooney said the Aug. 25 report on Global cited a Winnipeg pest control company saying bed bugs had been detected in a local movie house, and it had become a problem in other theatres in other communities.
The Notre Dame movie house wasn't named in the news report but the video did show the interior of the Towne 8 that was recognizable to some people.
Cooney said the local theatre manager received phone calls from customers asking if the news report was true and they were told it was not.
The Towne 8 had been inspected the same day the Global report aired by another pest control firm, Abell Pest Control, which reported then that the building was free of all pests.
"We had words with Global back when they ran that story," Cooney said. "Our chief operating officer said, 'guys, you haven't talked to us, there is nothing to back this up, pull the story.'
"So they pulled the video after two or three days."
Jon Lovlin, Global Winnipeg's news director, said there was no intent to identify the Towne 8 as having bedbugs, adding their crew went to the movie house to get moviegoers' reactions that the pests had been detected in an unnamed theatre.
Lovlin said the intent was to shoot interior images so tightly that they couldn't identify the theatre, but said the owners did contact him.
"You could kind of tell, if you'd been there, that that might have been (Towne 8)," Lovlin said. "We replaced (the image) online and used some shots that were more appropriate so you could not make out what theatre it was.
"The exterminator did not tell us which theatre it was, just that one had been recently cleaned."
But the image of the theatre on the television screen stuck in the local consciousness and the Towne 8 was identified in at least one local Internet blog site as being bed-bug infested.
"They said they can't mention it on TV but did show Towne 8," posted an individual identified as forzfed on Winnipeg Heights.com on Aug. 27.
Another post that day on WinnipegHeights.com picked up on what forzfed stated. "ive always like towne 8. used to go there lots as a kid. Hmm never again i guess," posted benz88."Never been there! Never will!" added Faken on the same site shortly afterwards.
Cooney said a second scan of the theatre was conducted last week, with the same results: There is no sign of a pest infestation of any kind at the Towne firstname.lastname@example.org
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2010 B4