It’s not looking good for AICN.
There’s a whole moment happening right now with film-geek-bro-culture and sexual harassment at and around indie movie theater chains. A couple blocks from where I live, the Cinefamily – an L.A. arthouse theater where I saw, among other things, a lovely print of Orson Welles’s magnificent “Chimes at Midnight” – has been shuttered by the owners in the wake of numerous sexual harassment charges made against its manager by various female volunteers.
Then there’s been a whole thing with film blogger Devin Faraci, who after allegations was given a second chance to write copy by Alamo Drafthouse honcho Tim League. There was a big backlash so League dumped him. And now the Harry Knowles allegations.
I’m gonna admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for AICN. Centuries ago I passed a script to Harry via my brother who was passing through Austin. I even have enjoyed some of his reviews, which are rambling and grammatically awful but occasionally hit upon a sort of geeky/gross mot juste.
If Harry Knowles groped women without their consent then that is a far, far worse thing than writing a gross and shock-jocky review of Blade II. His having written such a review (or the Wrong Turn one, or the fantasy about the cheerleader in Heroes) does not mean that he definitely groped anyone.
We’re back to the same old problem. How do you respect the voices of victims of assault while at the same time hewing to the presumption of innocence, and not cavalierly destroying a person’s reputation? The current rule of thumb seems to be that if enough people come forward (a la Cosby), it’s OK to pass judgment without due process. I’m not sure what number here amounts to ‘enough.’ And, of course, the court of public opinion and courts of law are two very different things; but still, in many cases we are talking about the total annihilation of a person’s livelihood, so it’s not trivial.
Anyway, it’s a shitshow and quite depressing.