Selma stunt at Hackney Picturehouse

The Hackney Citizens community group take part in a protest to campaign for the living wage, outside

The Hackney Citizens community group take part in a protest to campaign for the living wage, outside the Hackney Picturehouse. - Credit: Vickie Flores

Campaigners dressed as characters from the civil rights film Selma, recreated the movie’s promo pic outside the Hackney Picturehouse to “highlight the irony” of the film being screened in the cinema which does not pay its staff what they dub “a living wage”.

Leaders from Hackney Citizens, representing different faith communities in the borough including the Alevi Cultural Centre and BSix college, came together for the protest outside the cinema in Mare Street.

They are calling on Cineworld - a multimillion pound corporation which bought the Picturehouse chain in 2012 - to pay its staff the Living Wage, which is £9.15 an hour.

They dressed up for the stunt to mirror the characters in the Oscar-nominated historical drama, based on the 1965 Semla to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr.

Hackney Citizens, a local branch of the national community organising charity Citizens UK which began the Living Wage campaign, had already held a similar protest at Christmas.

They dressed up as Santa Clause and his Christmas Elves to deliver a piece of coal to the cinema accusing it of “scrooging”.

A spokesman said: “We wanted to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr’s historic statement: ‘We know of no more crucial civil rights issue facing congress today. A Living Wage should be the right of all working Americans”.

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“We wanted to highlight the irony that Hackney Picturehouse, part of multimillion pound corporation Cineworld, still refuse to pay their staff a living wage despite launching the civil rights film Selma.

“Leaders from Hackney Citizens decided to take this action following the refusal of Hackney Picturehouse middle management to meet with them before Christmas to discuss paying their staff a living wage.”

A spokesman for Cineworld said they would not comment on the Picturehouse’s wage negotiations.

The Picturehouse declined to comment.