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Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League Announces Plan for New Board of Directors to Build ‘A Safe, Inclusive Environment’

The Alamo Drafthouse founder and head has issued a new apology, and one that promises actionable change.

Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League

Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League

Annie Ray

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League has issued a new apology, his latest statement after weeks of controversy involving the Austin-based theater chain. It’s the fourth public statement from League after the fallout of a string of revelations, including the re-hiring of former Birth.Movies.Death. editor-in-chief Devin Faraci by Drafthouse founder Tim League and new accusations directed at Fantastic Fest co-founder Harry Knowles.

In an email update sent to all Fantastic Fest badge holders (including both fans who purchased their entrance and members of the media and industry attending the annual festival) and viewable here, League writes: “I’ve been reflecting on twenty years of decisions as a business owner. In the early days, Karrie and I conferred on all tough decisions, and we always tried to do the right thing…Recent perspective has made it clear that we didn’t always do the right thing, despite what we thought were good intentions. To the women we have let down, Karrie and I both sincerely apologize.”

League goes on to mention new initiatives he and the company are undertaking to “create a safe, inclusive environment for our staff at both the theater and the festival as well as the community at large.” While League does not get into details, this plan will involve the creation of a new Board of Directors, headed up by longtime Fantastic Fest head Kristen Bell, in order to bring the “most open and inclusive environment for this unique film community.”

League also notes that the company has “severed all ties with Harry Knowles and he is no longer affiliated with the company in any capacity. We are striving to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and will take actions so those who work at the theater or attend as a guest are not made to feel unsafe.”

After IndieWire posted a story over the weekend in which an Austin-area woman came forward with allegations of sexual assault at the hands of Knowles in the early-aughts, social media exploded with the news, which encouraged a number of other women to come forward with similar allegations.

The full statement follows:

I’ve been reflecting on twenty years of decisions as a business owner. In the early days, Karrie and I conferred on all tough decisions, and we always tried to do the right thing. To this day, the core value of the company is just that, the simple principle to always “do the right thing.” Recent perspective has made it clear that we didn’t always do the right thing, despite what we thought were good intentions. To the women we have let down, Karrie and I both sincerely apologize.

We’re now a big company with over 4,500 employees. We have over a million guests come through our doors every month. Now we have a great HR team and are a vastly better company than we were in the mom and pop days.

I’m currently writing this update from a hotel room in Kansas City. As many of you know, I decided to skip Fantastic Fest this year. I feel that the most important thing I can do right now is to travel to all of our theaters, talk with our staff and listen. I’ve hosted 12 sessions so far and there are many more scheduled for the next three weeks all over the country. As much as I’d like to be at the event, I need to be with our staff and lead a positive path forward for the company.

On the festival front, in light of recent events and feedback we have gotten over the last few days, we have taken some first steps on the path to listening and ensuring that we create a safe, inclusive environment for our staff at both the theater and the festival as well as the community at large. I’ll be sharing more about this in the days and weeks to come.

Moving forward, we have severed all ties with Harry Knowles and he is no longer affiliated with the company in any capacity. We are striving to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and will take actions so those who work at the theater or attend as a guest are not made to feel unsafe.

The festival is actively working on building out a new Board of Directors whose focus will be to further enhance and refine the experience of the festival; nurture and provide more opportunities for young genre filmmakers; and provide the best, most open and inclusive environment for this unique film community. This board will be run by the festival’s Executive Director, Kristen Bell, and should be finalized and announced shortly.

The festival team has spent the last five days talking to badgeholders and gathering feedback on ways the festival can be better. We’ve made real-time changes to the festival this year and will also be sending out a post-event survey to all badgeholders to collect further feedback on how we should improve and grow. We greatly appreciate all the feedback we have received so far, both positive and negative, as it continues to give us a wider, better perspective on the future of the festival.

At the festival and at the theater, we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all of our staff and guests, and I am committed to the work ahead to ensure that goal.

Tim League

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