1:20pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Beyonce's Parkwood Entertainment Sued Over Website Accessibility
Beyonce Knowles' company Parkwood Entertainment has been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming Beyonce.com violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying visually impaired users equal access to products and services offered on the site.
A New York woman named Mary Conner who has "no vision whatsoever," according to the filing, claims the website isn't fully accessible for her and for millions of others who have visual impairments.
"The one and only form of entertainment that truly presents an even playing field between the visually impaired and the sighted is the joy of music," writes attorney Dan Shaked in the complaint. "Plaintiff dreams of attending a Beyonce concert and listening to her music in a live setting. However, when she browsed the Beyonce.com website, she encountered numerous barriers which limited her accessibility to the goods and services offered on the website."
Conner claims that because Beyonce.com is "an exclusively visual interface" she's unable to browse the site and make online purchases without the assistance of a sighted companion.
"Web accessibility requires that alt-text be coded with each picture so that a screen-reader can speak the alternative text while sighted users see the picture," writes Shaked. "There are many important pictures on Beyonce.com that lack a text equivalent. ... As a result, Plaintiff and blind Beyonce.com customers are unable to determine what is on the website, browse the website or investigate and/or make purchases."
Other issues with the site include a lack of accessible drop-down menus and navigation links and the inability to use a keyboard instead of a mouse, according to the complaint.
The proposed class includes "all legally blind individuals in the United States who have attempted to access Beyonce.com and as a result have been denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services offered by Beyonce.com, during the relevant statutory period.”
Conner is asking the court for an injunction that would cause Parkwood to make the site accessible to blind and visually impaired customers in compliance with the ADA and is seeking compensatory damages for class members who have "been subjected to unlawful discrimination."
Reps for Parkwood have not yet responded to a request for comment. The full complaint is posted below.