Just days after the Devin Faraci scandal blew up in his face, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League is once again being accused of mishandling allegations of sexual misconduct, this time involving Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles.
The similarities between Devin Faraci and Knowles are almost too bizarre to be believed. Both are leftwing movie geeks who once enjoyed robust film-writing careers, and both have now had their careers derailed by multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
Another connection is the Alamo Drafthouse (a chain of 28 movie theaters based in Austin, Texas) and its CEO League. Until the Alamo caused a national controversy this summer over its “women only” screenings of Wonder Woman— cynical events in support of abortion provider Planned Parenthood and meant to capitalize on woke feminism — the chain was little known outside of film geekdom.
Today, due to its apparent mishandling of some very serious sexual misconduct allegations, League and the Drafthouse are becoming infamous for what one former employee (who resigned after ten years over the scandal) described as an “old boys’ club.”
In just under a year, Faraci has already been dropped twice by League. The first time occurred last October after the self-proclaimed feminist was accused of shoving his hands down a woman’s pants. Faraci did not deny the literal p***y grab allegation, and within hours resigned as editor-in-chief of Birth.Movies.Death, a film site owned by League.
The publicity surrounding Faraci’s accuser and the subsequent resignation encouraged other women to come forward to tell their own Faraci horror stories, allegations that range from the boorish to outright bullying.
Nevertheless, the rumor is that League never really let Faraci go, that the writer was given secret employment as an unattributed copywriter. Just as documents and sources encouraged some media outlets to dig into the rumors, League suddenly announced that it was time to give Faraci a second chance. The pushback, however, was almost unanimous and League was once again forced to accept Faraci’s resignation. This time, one assumes, for good.
Well, that was last week.
This week it is Knowles stepping down from his own once-influential website. As numerous allegations of sexual misconduct swirl around the 45 year-old known as HeadGeek, he has announced a leave of absence. In the wake of this week’s allegations, League claims to have severed all associations with Knowles. This includes the Alamo’s Fantastic Fest, an annual film festival Knowles co-founded with League in 2005. But according to one alleged victim, League has known about at least one groping allegation for more than a decade.
As far as the specific allegations…
First there is Jasmine Baker, who claims that in 1999-2000, Knowles repeatedly rubbed up against her at the Drafthouse and even reached up her skirt.
Gloria Walker, a Drafthouse customer claims that Knowles repeatedly groped her, “on more than one occasion grabbed my ass and other parts of me.”
The alleged harassment also came digitally. An anonymous accuser claims she received the following unsolicited and unwelcome electronic messages from Knowles:
Come hither to Austin. Your eyeliner makes you look good enough to eat. Obviously I’m talking about cannibalism, baby. You can have my Vienna sausage anytime. I’ll cover it in cabbage, shut your eyes and pretend it’s all rice.
Britt Hayes, an associate editor at ScreenCrush News has also publicly accused Knowles, tweeting, “Harry sexually harassed me. he has sexually harassed other women in this community for years. this wasn’t an anomaly. he is a predator.”
Specifically, she claims Knowles texted to her, “Do you want to know the real way to get into BNAT? … Show me your tits.”
BNAT is Butt-Numb-A-Thon, an annual 24-hour film festival run by Knowles.
The problem for League is that Baker claims she reported the groping “soon after,” and that while he was sympathetic, nothing was done. In fact, League went on to enter a business relationship with Knowles through Fantastic Fest.
After Baker’s story broke, though, League appeared to confirm his own mishandling of harassment allegations with this statement:
[R]ecent perspective has made it clear we didn’t always do the right thing, despite what we thought were good intentions. To the women we have let down, Karrie [League’s wife] and I both sincerely apologize.
One of Knowles’s accusers told the Daily Beast:
That is what is most upsetting. Because the Drafthouse is somewhere where these women went as a safe space. They had a Wonder Woman screening that was only for women, and it felt like they cared about us in this community. And to know that Tim [League] did absolutely nothing when his friend was accused of sexually harassing someone, and rather lied to his supporters in order to protect his friend… that speaks volumes to me.”
For his part, League claims that he is now out on a listening tour “to all of our theaters, [to] talk with our staff and listen … to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment[.]”