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Sexual assault allegations surface against Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles
Photo via Chris Jackson/Flickr (CC-BY)
Sexual assault allegations are piling up in the film scene.
Just weeks after a similar situation shook the Alamo Drafthouse, new sexual misconduct allegations have triggered an exodus from long-running entertainment news site Ain’t It Cool News.
Over the weekend, news broke that a former Alamo Drafthouse employee had accused Harry Knowles—the co-founder of Alamo’s Fantastic Fest and the man behind entertainment site Ain’t It Cool News (AICN)—of repeated sexual assault. In response, a stream of the website’s contributors are stepping down.
Writer Eric Vespe, who goes by “Quint” on the site, released a statement on Twitter Monday afternoon saying that the behavior Knowles has been accused of is “impossible to defend.”
“I can not, in good conscience, continue to contribute to the brand I helped build over the last 20 years,” Vespe wrote in his statement. “Effective immediately I am leaving Ain’t It Cool News.”
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) September 25, 2017
Vespe added that fellow AICN contributors “Horrorella” and Steve “Capone” Prokopy will also be leaving the site. Prokopy tweeted a statement of his own.
“This was a remarkably easy decision to make,” he wrote. “I have known too many women over the years—both inside and outside the film community—who have encountered and survived sexual harassment and/or assault to allow myself to remain involved in an organization where allegations of either are part of the landscape.”
An announcement about my leaving Ain't It Cool News. pic.twitter.com/4vyJIhMycQ
— Steve Prokopy (@SteveProkopy) September 25, 2017
Horrorella tweeted simply, “In light of today’s events, I have decided that I will no longer be writing for AICN.”
In light of today's events, I have decided that I will no longer be writing for AICN.
— Horrorella (@Horrorellablog) September 24, 2017
For Knowles’ part, he maintains the allegations are untrue.
The news comes hot on the heels of a separate sexual assault scandal involving the Alamo Drafthouse brand: Earlier this month it was revealed Drafthouse CEO Tim League had quietly re-hired writer Devin Faraci, who left the company last year amid sexual assault allegations of his own. Faraci has since re-resigned, and League is going into overdrive in the media trying to assert that the company takes these things seriously and is still a safe place to work.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.