Last night, we reported on the news that the Alamo Drafthouse had hired back former Birth.Movies.Death editor-in-chief Devin Faraci following his resignation over accusations of sexual assault 11 months prior. Rumours had swirled around the film world for many months that Faraci was secretly writing for the Drafthouse, albeit without a byline, but now that has been confirmed. Following criticism of this decision, Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse offered an explanation.
We’ve documented much of Faraci’s past in our earlier post, and we’ve discussed the problems of perpetuating rape culture in this industry, one that has an unfortunate dark side regarding its treatment of women. As we said there, we don’t believe forgiveness or penance is impossible, but the optics of this situation have made it especially hard to believe lessons were truly learned.
According to freelance artist Tim Doyle, Faraci’s return to the Alamo Drafthouse was an open secret many months before it was officially confirmed that he was back on the payroll.
Let's be clear- there was no break between Devin Faraci being fired from BMD and him working @drafthouse. It's a poorly kept local secret.— Tim Doyle @NYCC (@NakatomiTim) September 13, 2017
It’s hard to imagine any real lesson was learned when Faraci was given work so quickly after being accused of sexual assault, not to mention years of bullying, intimidation, online harassment and a distinct lack of professionalism. Tim League has tried to frame his hiring back of Faraci as an act of mercy, a way of preventing homelessness as Faraci had already lost ‘his job, his livelihood, his career, and his place in the film community’, but to quote Telegraph critic Robbie Collin:
Eleven months without a byline isn't penance, it's standard freelance life.— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) September 13, 2017
Questions remain as to what Alamo Drafthouse staff members knew.
It's not strictly related, but the Faraci affair precipitated his announcement.— Jaime Grijalba (@jaimegrijalba) September 13, 2017
There is also the very glaring issue of the Alamo Drafthouse hiring Faraci back so quickly, under the insistence that he was truly sorry and lessons were learned. Was that their call to make, and how much did they consider the safety of their other workers when making that decision? How many months of penance does Tim League believe is enough to make up for an allegation of sexual assault? What did Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse and Birth.Movies.Death think of Faraci’s many years of terrible behaviour, which included telling no fewer than two individuals to kill themselves? All of this talk of forgiveness and doing the right thing has not once considered Faraci’s career long bullying and intimidation. Indeed, if you were new to this story, you would think Faraci had a glowing record prior to being accused of sexual assault.
Tim League also has questions to answer over other allegations made against Faraci, ones he was aware of, and we know this because we have the emails to prove it. When Kat Arnett contacted League regarding her own situation, League’s responses were highly unprofessional and asked Arnett if she could keep ‘this dialogue between us.’
"LOL sorry Devin sexually harassed you, but I'm on vacation, please don't tell anyone I'll totally fire him"— Tim Doyle @NYCC (@NakatomiTim) September 13, 2017
Narrator voice- "He doesn't." pic.twitter.com/4jYUpxTisy
It’s clear that there has been little to no transparency on this decision. The Alamo Drafthouse and Tim League seemed to hope nobody would notice Faraci’s byline returning, or hear the open secret swirling around the film criticism world. We’d heard the rumour he was back at the Drafthouse and writing anonymously months ago.
Many critics, a lot of them women, have stepped forward to defend Faraci and vouch for his new turn. They’re free to do so and I imagine being friends with someone at the centre of this is an unusual situation. However, I cannot ignore how this decision, less than a year after the news broke, affects our industry. Once again, it shows that a man’s input will always be prizes over a woman’s safety. It shows that bullying, harassment, intimidation and abuse allegations are all okay as long as you bring the clicks and promise you’ve changed, no evidence required. It shows that years of terrible, unprofessional behaviour will always be defended or just flat out ignored if your friends are in the right places. It shows that our industry has rot at its centre and it’s been allowed to fester there because it’s easier to exacerbate the status quo than confront the difficult reality of systemic change. Our industry has enabled Devin Faraci for many years and is continuing to do so. The Alamo Drafthouse have treated people who text during screenings with more force than they’ve treated Faraci.
As this all unfolds, it is important for us to centre the most important person involved — the victim. She took to Twitter last night and today to discuss what’s happened. She also noted that Tim League had not consulted her on his decision.
oh god do i have to go back to boycotting alamo drafthouse jesus christ— INVISIGOTH (@spacecrone) September 12, 2017
i am mostly laughing at the PR debacle that is: pretending you just re-hired him when he was working there in secret?— INVISIGOTH (@spacecrone) September 13, 2017
i've got too many good things going on in my life to let this break my stride too much but FUCK devin faraci & tim league (thread!)— INVISIGOTH (@spacecrone) September 13, 2017
but compassion without boundaries and accountability is a form of enabling— INVISIGOTH (@spacecrone) September 13, 2017
will always find people taking advantage of that position. and that position arises because of a community that enables it.— INVISIGOTH (@spacecrone) September 13, 2017
If you or anyone you know has been effected by sexual assault, please consider donating to RAINN.