This past weekend, Harry Knowles, who founded pioneering movie website Ain't It Cool News, was accused of sexual assault. A mass exodus of writers from the site soon followed. And now Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League has severed any and all ties with Knowles, attempting to make his company safe from any sexual predators that may be lurking about.
A number of veteran contributors bailed ship over the course of the past few days, as sited by The Hollywood Reporter. And now Alamo Drafthouse is following along. Tim League recently found himself immersed in another sexual assault scandal, when it was discovered that accused sex offender and prolific movie blogger Devin Faraci had been rehired after being fired from the Alamo Drafthouse company following claims made against him.
Tim League dropped a pretty hefty statement late Monday night in regards to his long-standing relationship with Harry Knowles. This all happened amidst the currently ongoing Fantastic Fest in Austin, which was founded by League and Knowles. Before the official statement serving ties with Knowles, it was widely announced that Knowles had stepped away from the movie festival, though he still had writers from Ain't It Cool News covering the event. League now claims that Knowles is no longer affiliated with the company in any capacity.
League has come under heavy fire recently for having an unsafe work environment when it comes to sexual predators, with his company referred to as a 'boys club'. The CEO now says he is 'striving to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and will take actions so those who work at the theater or attend as a guest are not made to feel unsafe.'
Over the weekend, Harry Knowles was accused of sexual assault by a former Drafthouse employee named Jasmin Baker. She had this to say about Knowles' behavior towards her.
"Harry Knowles groped me, opportunistically, on more than one occasion. I cannot just stay silent. I am not interested in remaining silent."
Harry Knowles has 100% denied these allegations. Though other women have come out to say that they were also assaulted. This latest scandal comes just one week after League received huge criticism for rehiring former Birth.Movies.Death editor Devin Faraci, who left the company after a woman accused him of sexual assault last year. Faraci was later rehired as a copywriter, with League hoping to give the disgraced blogger what he called a 'second chance'. But when people found out about the situation, it caused a huge backlash. And a social media boycott soon occurred. Devin Faraci quickly stepped away from his second job with the Drafthouse company, and League later apologized for his lofty hiring practices. Here is League's recent statement.
"I've been reflecting on twenty years of decisions as a business owner. In the early days, Karrie and I conferred on all tough decisions, and we always tried to do the right thing. To this day, the core value of the company is just that, the simple principle to always "do the right thing." Recent perspective has made it clear that we didn't always do the right thing, despite what we thought were good intentions. To the women we have let down, Karrie and I both sincerely apologize. We're now a big company with over 4,500 employees. We have over a million guests come through our doors every month. Now we have a great HR team and are a vastly better company than we were in the mom and pop days. I'm currently writing this update from a hotel room in Kansas City. As many of you know, I decided to skip Fantastic Fest this year. I feel that the most important thing I can do right now is to travel to all of our theaters, talk with our staff and listen. I've hosted 12 sessions so far and there are many more scheduled for the next three weeks all over the country. As much as I'd like to be at the event, I need to be with our staff and lead a positive path forward for the company."
Later on in the letter, League addresses what is going on with his Alamo Drafthouse film festivals, which have become some of the biggest in the country.
"On the festival front, in light of recent events and feedback we have gotten over the last few days, we have taken some first steps on the path to listening and ensuring that we create a safe, inclusive environment for our staff at both the theater and the festival as well as the community at large. I'll be sharing more about this in the days and weeks to come. Moving forward, we have severed all ties with Harry Knowles and he is no longer affiliated with the company in any capacity. We are striving to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and will take actions so those who work at the theater or attend as a guest are not made to feel unsafe. The festival is actively working on building out a new Board of Directors whose focus will be to further enhance and refine the experience of the festival; nurture and provide more opportunities for young genre filmmakers; and provide the best, most open and inclusive environment for this unique film community. This board will be run by the festival's Executive Director, Kristen Bell, and should be finalized and announced shortly. The festival team has spent the last five days talking to badgeholders and gathering feedback on ways the festival can be better. We've made real-time changes to the festival this year and will also be sending out a post-event survey to all badgeholders to collect further feedback on how we should improve and grow. We greatly appreciate all the feedback we have received so far, both positive and negative, as it continues to give us a wider, better perspective on the future of the festival. At the festival and at the theater, we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all of our staff and guests, and I am committed to the work ahead to ensure that goal."
It is unclear what the fate of Ain't It Cool News will ultimately be. But at this time, Harry Knowles has not backed down from his assertion that he is 100% innocent. Instead of disappearing as Devin Faraci did following that sex scandal, Knowles is continuing to have a presence on social media, and is Twitting as though nothing has happened. If he feels any remorse about his alleged actions, he certainly isn't showing it, and has chalked it all up to an angry friend that he harbors no ill will towards.