A blind person is suing Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment in a proposed class action, alleging the singer’s website doesn’t provide features on its site to make it equally accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
Mary Conner filed a civil suit against Parkwood Entertainment, which operates and created Beyonce.com, on Jan. 3 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She claimed the site violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York laws.
Conner, who’s legally blind, said she’s been a “big fan” of Beyonce for numerous years. “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,” according to the court filing.
Conner said she went onto Beyonce.com to learn more about the artist and intended to purchase a Christmas-themed “Holidayonce” pullover hoodie. But that purchase and Beyonce experience never came to fruition because “defendant has chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface” for its website, making it difficult for the visually impaired to access much of its content, Conner alleges.
The suit provides a nonexhaustive list of features it claims Beyonce.com lacks, including alternative-text on graphics, inaccessible drop-down menus, navigation links, adequate prompting and labeling, denial of keyboard access, empty links that contain no text, redundant links where adjacent links go the same URL address and the requirement that transactions be performed solely with a mouse. Such “access barriers” prevents “free and full use” by Conner and other visually impaired people, the suit alleges.
Conner’s counsel seeks to certify a class of legally blind individuals in the U.S. who have attempted to access Beyonce.com but were “denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services offered.”
What’s more, Connor seeks a permanent injunction requiring Parkwood to change its policies, practices and procedures. She also seeks attorney fees and compensatory damage to compensate class members.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos and U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lehrburger, both of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, were assigned to the civil matter, according to court documents.
The plaintiff’s counsel Dan Shaked, of Brooklyn’s Shaked Law Group, declined to comment.
As of press time, no counsel was listed for Parkwood Entertainment. An email attempt for comment from Parkwood wasn’t answered.