Following the resignations of executive director Hadrian Belove and board member and Shadie Elnashai, Cinefamily has closed, temporarily suspending “all Cinefamily activities in order to allow for the investigation and necessary restructure of management and the board.”
The Cinefamily board asked for the resignations last week after an anonymous email circulated claiming that Belove “has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse by former employees and volunteers” and accused Elnashai of “raping multiple women, all verbally threatened and scared into silence after the assaults.” UPDATE: Elnashai has denied the accusations. His full statement is available here.
The Cinefamily announcement, which is posted prominently on its site and social media, also said it has “engaged an independent third party, Giles Miller at Lynx Insights & Investigations, to conduct a thorough investigation into any alleged impropriety.”
The letter, which is signed by “The Board of The Cinefamily,“ added: “We want to reassure our members and staff that The Board will take all steps available to us to restore their faith in The Cinefamily.”
— The Cinefamily (@cinefamily) August 27, 2017
Shortly after the resignations of Belove and Elnashai, Women of Cinefamily co-founder Brie Larson posted her own statement calling for further investigation into the allegations. A source close to both Larson and her co-founder, Alia Penner, said that they planned to step back from involvement with the organization for the foreseeable future.
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 become 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.
The theater’s current screening was Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Endless Poetry.” Repertory series The History of the Midnight (July 27-Sept.1) and The Zanzibar Films (Aug. 19-31) have canceled the remainder of their shows.