A theater critic who was tired of the woman next to him using her cellphone during a musical decided to do what many people have imagined doing during similarly annoying moments: he snatched her phone and smashed it on the ground.
Kevin Williamson is a writer for the National Review. He was watching a performance of "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." But he had trouble focusing on it because most of the theater was using their phones, despite being asked not to.
Williamson wrote about the performance on the National Review website, and said he recommended seeing it. He said his viewing of it, however, was ruined by the audience.
"It was bad enough that I seriously considered leaving during the intermission, something I've not done before," he said.
The audience was apparently sitting in groups. All tables were told that photography and cellphone use was prohibited.
Williamson said there was one group of women sitting beside him who did not listen to the request.
"The main offenders were two parties of women of a certain age, the sad sort with too much makeup and too-high heels, and insufficient attention span for following a two-hour musical," he said. "But my date spoke with the theater management during the intermission, and they apologetically assured us that the situation would be remedied."
But things did not improve, and after the interval Williamson asked a woman sitting next to him to stop using the phone.
"I asked her to turn it off. She answered: 'So don't look.' I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business,'" he wrote.
That's when he lashed out in anger, grabbing her phone and throwing it on the floor away from her.
When he was asked if the phone was damaged he admitted, "It had to be; I threw it a pretty good distance."
The woman promptly slapped Williamson and left to complain to management.
Soon afterward, Williamson was approached by a security director who asked him to step into the lobby for a word.
"They tried to keep me there. He said the lady was talking about filing charges. So I waited around for a bit, but it seemed to be taking awhile," he said.
"In a civilized world, I would have received a commendation of some sort. To the theater-going public of New York - nay, the world - I say: 'You're welcome,'" he wrote.
Williamson left without hearing from the woman. He said he is willing to face her in court if she chooses to charge him.