Hadrian Belove has resigned as executive director of Cinefamily, the independent Los Angeles-based theater he co-founded in 2007, after an anonymous email circulated this week detailing sexual harassment allegations against him and the Cinefamily board.
The anonymous email, which went to hundreds of members of the independent film community and the media, said Belove “has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse by former employees and volunteers. It is a deep seated behavior pattern that many in the community are already aware of.”
The email included excerpts from a 2014 lawsuit filed against Belove and Cinefamily by a former employee that cited sexual harassment as well as work-rule violations. That case was settled out of court.
In addition to Belove, the Cinefamily board accepted the resignation of board vice president Shadie Elnashai, whom the email accused of “raping multiple women, all verbally threatened and scared into silence after the assaults.” Elnashai has denied the accusations. His full statement is available here.
Cinefamily – also known as the historic Silent Movie Theater – was co-founded 10 years ago by brothers Dan and Sammy Harkham along with former Cinefile Video founder Belove. It has blossomed into one of the most popular independent theaters in Los Angeles. The venue is known for its programming of first-run features from boutique distributors in addition to wide-ranging retrospective programming.
Cinefamily issued the following statement in response to the allegations. Belove, whose name has already been removed from Cinefamily’s website, posted his own statement on Facebook. That statement is also included below, in addition to the email sent out today.
Recently an email has been circulating which makes dark and disturbing claims about the Cinefamily. These allegations are deeply troubling. We take all claims incredibly seriously and want all members of our community to feel safe. If anyone has experienced verbal or physical harassment, we encourage them to report it to us at SpeakUp@Cinefamily.org, or to contact the LAPD. We have been coordinating with Officer Russel Hess of the Wilshire Precinct. He can be reached by calling (213) 473-0476.
Our non-profit organization has zero tolerance for any action intended to harm or injure our staff, volunteers, or patrons. Any claims made are dealt with swiftly and directly, with respect and moral integrity. In the two years since the appointment of our Executive Managing Director, Trevor Jones, we have received one harassment claim. That claim was of a non-violent nature, and was investigated thoroughly. We immediately reviewed the procedures in place for reporting claims, and emphasized our absolute commitment to protect any victim of harassment, including the creation of new roles within the organization to foster open channels of communication. Action was taken in response to the claim to the satisfaction of the claimant. We also instituted an annual harassment in the workplace seminar hosted by Ogletree Deakins, a firm specializing in employment law.
Our staff and volunteers are hardworking, dedicated individuals, devoted to building a welcoming and inclusive environment–one that is defined by mutual respect and shared passion for film culture. Now, more than ever, we are actively working to fulfill our responsibility to you–our patrons, members, community, and city. It is a privilege to do so.
In light of recent events, Shadie Elnashai has resigned from Cinefamily’s Board of Directors and Hadrian Belove has resigned as the Executive Creative Director of Cinefamily.
This story continues on the next page.