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Universal Studios has since apologized, but explained their policy as a safety precaution intended to prevent confusion.
On Oct. 1, Vincent Champion and his girlfriend arrived at the Orlando theme park during its Halloween Horror Nights festivities, but Champion said he was detained upon entry by a staff member.
Vincent Champion was wearing a T-shirt that read “Retired Police Officer” on the front, but Universal said it has a policy against allowing anyone inside with a shirt that might identify them as emergency personnel.
“She said you can’t come in here wearing a shirt that says ‘police’ on it,” Champion told Fox 35.
Champion, a former Ormond Beach Police officer, was wearing a T-shirt that read “Retired Police Officer” on the front, and “My time in uniform is over, but my watch never ends” on the back. Both the front and back also featured a design consisting of a skull with a blue line on it, representing the police force.
Champion told Fox 35 that another person in line overheard the exchange and offered him a different shirt to wear, which he eventually put on. The employee, however, said Champion wouldn’t even be allowed to carry his original T-shirt into the park, but would instead need to leave it in his car.
“I don’t understand why it’s happening. I’ve never been treated that way or anything before,” he told the outlet.
Vincent Champion says Universal called him to apologize after the incident.
Champion asked to speak to a supervisor, and was eventually allowed into the park wearing his original T-shirt.
A representative for Universal Orlando was not immediately available to comment to Fox News, but in a statement to Fox 35, the park outlined the policy that initially prevented Champion from entering in his shirt.
“For safety reasons we want our guests and team members to be able to easily identify active, working law enforcement,” the statement read. “And so, as is common in our industry, we do not permit to wear clothing or items that could cause confusion.”
On its website, Universal Orlando currently lists “clothing that represents someone as emergency personnel” under its prohibited items list, along with clothing that falsely identifies someone as working for the park, and clothing with offensive language or content.
Champion told Fox 35 that he was eventually contacted by the park and offered an apology.