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Fantastic Fest Programmer Quits Over Devin Faraci, Slams Drafthouse ‘Old Boys Club’ in Scathing Letter

When Tim League announced he secretively rehired Devin Faraci months ago, veteran international programmer Todd Brown resigned. Here's why.

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

Todd Brown tendered his resignation as Fantastic Fest’s international programmer, one week before the festival’s 13th edition, and his reasons are damning. His decision came after he (along with the public and other members of the film community) discovered that, months ago, Alamo founder Tim League secretly rehired Devin Faraci. The former editor in chief of the Drafthouse’s film site, Birth.Movies.Death, Faraci resigned last October following allegations of sexual assault — allegations that Faraci did not deny.

Brown, who spent a decade as a Fantastic Fest programmer, said the decision was “emotionally difficult by the sad fact that it was not difficult at all. It was essential… While I do not believe there was any malice in the decision to bring Faraci back there was, however, a clear, undeniable and arguably even callous disregard for the impact of this decision on anyone not named Devin Faraci.”

On September 12, Pajiba broke the story of Faraci’s rehiring. Later that evening, League posted a statement on his Facebook page that addressed Faraci’s new role, emphasizing second chances and that his work did not include Birth.Movies.Death. That resulted in fierce public blowback from Alamo fans, and on September 13, League posted another Facebook statement, this one announcing that he’d accepted Faraci’s resignation.

However, Faraci’s exit has not slowed the anger from would-be fans of the Drafthouse toward its many affiliates and League himself. While Brown’s statement does not address reactions from others, it does provide some insight as to what is fueling them.

Brown writes:

Anyone who has ever suggested that Fantastic Fest and the Drafthouse is just the geek friendly equivalent of the classic Old Boys Club, you have just been proven correct. We have just seen that Club in action. There it is, the Club utterly ignoring the victim while it creates a protective ring around the perpetrator. Telling every woman who has ever been harassed or assaulted that the predatory males around them will be protected if they are a part of the Club. Telling every woman that the Sad Man whose life is a shambles because of his own actions deserves help and support in putting himself back together while she deserves … nothing.

The full text of Brown’s statement is reprinted below.

For the past eleven years I have been proud to be a part of the Fantastic Fest team and – by extension – a part of the Alamo Drafthouse family. For more than a decade Fantastic Fest has been a key element of my personal identity and a community that I was proud to have had a hand in building. Many of my closest friendships have been forged at Fantastic Fest and I have been privileged to work with a host of immensely talented people who have become more than colleagues – they are my confidants, my tribe, a sort of surrogate family spanning the globe. And so it was a very emotional decision to part ways with Fantastic Fest earlier today, a fact made even more emotionally difficult by the sad fact that it was not difficult at all. It was essential.

There is a history of sexual abuse in my family. I have watched the damage caused by these actions resonate through my entire family. I know first hand how the consequences of sexual assault mar lives and ripple through generations. I feel its consequences in myself, in my inability to express and to trust in my own emotions though I am a full generation removed from the actual events. I carry a fear in me that this damage will corrupt my own relationships with my wife and with my children. And I know from this that sexual assault is not a fixed point in time. It is not just an event. It has only a beginning but no true end.

And so when Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League acknowledged that he had quietly and without any consultation re-hired Devin Faraci at some unspecified time less than a year after Faraci was fired following sexual assault allegations there was no real option but to part ways. Not because of what was in League’s explanation of the decision – his talk of second chances and rehabilitation – but because of what was not.

Rehabilitation is a noble and worthwhile pursuit, to be sure, but it is also one that requires the involvement of a community. Forgiveness is fantastic but forgiveness is the sole purview of the person who has been wronged. Tim, bluntly, does not get to forgive Devin for Devin’s alleged – and undisputed – sexual assault. Only the victim gets to do that. And where was she in this? Where was the concern for any victim of sexual violence and the message this would send to them? While I do not believe there was any malice in the decision to bring Faraci back there was, however, a clear, undeniable and arguably even callous disregard for the impact of this decision on anyone not named Devin Faraci.

Given the fact that questions regarding who was involved in the decision and when the decision was made have been ignored; given that the decision was kept out of both public eye and away from the festival staff; given that Faraci – as verbose as ever on social media – has clearly been coached not to talk about his employment, it is very hard to conclude that anyone involved was unaware of how callous this decision was and what the reaction would be if it were made public. They knew. They’ve known for months and kept it hidden for months. They just didn’t care enough to do any different.

Anyone who has ever suggested that Fantastic Fest and the Drafthouse is just the geek friendly equivalent of the classic Old Boys Club, you have just been proven correct. We have just seen that Club in action. There it is, the Club utterly ignoring the victim while it creates a protective ring around the perpetrator. Telling every woman who has ever been harassed or assaulted that the predatory males around them will be protected if they are a part of the Club. Telling every woman that the Sad Man whose life is a shambles because of his own actions deserves help and support in putting himself back together while she deserves … nothing.

I am embarrassed and ashamed to have been any part of this apparatus and I choose now to leave it.

The Facebook post in full is embedded below.

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