Texas-based independent film producer Adam Donaghey made headlines last month when a woman came forward to say the filmmaker sexually assaulted her when she was 16. While Donaghey (best known for producing David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story”) was arrested and charged, he was released from custody on $25,000 bail on April 28. A new report from Marlow Stern in The Daily Beast, where several interview subjects compare him to Harvey Weinstein, reveals that Donaghey had a pattern of abuse prior to the charge. According to the report, his toxic behavior was well known within, and even abetted by, certain members of the Dallas film scene, including movie studio Cinestate.
“The first time I was ever on set I was warned about Adam Donaghey,” one female filmmaker told The Daily Beast. “I was told he was the Harvey Weinstein of Dallas.”
One individual, Cristen Leah Haynes, revealed that she was sexually harassed by Donaghey in 2014 while in production on the film “Occupy Texas.” The Daily Beast report contains disturbing audio of the encounter, where Donaghey bluntly asked Haynes to show him her underwear while riding in the car between locations.
“We start driving over there and we get there before everybody else. And the whole way there, he’s coming on to me, and it was very blunt. Show me your underwear — not even a question in the beginning, just a statement, like he thought it was OK to say,” said Haynes. “I said, ‘I hope you’re joking, but no, that’s OK, thanks.’ But he kept going, so that’s when I pulled my phone out and decided that I should document what was happening in case I got fired after that, or in case he started doing something physically.”
The report also illustrates that the audio began making the rounds within the Dallas film community, but that observers failed to act. “I just wanted to create an awareness, hoping that the people that do hire him would stop and that he would kind of slowly make his way out of the industry,” Haynes said. “I’ve actually had a producer tell a close coworker of mine that they will not hire me because I am linked to this ‘scandal,’ which was shocking and alienating for me.”
Haynes added that Donaghey reached out to her after she shared the audio with local producers. “As soon as the audio circulated in 2016, he called me on the phone and tried to apologize. And I responded, saying there really wasn’t much he could do at this point,” she said, adding that Donaghey asked her, “What do we have to do to make this go away?” Donaghey told The Daily Beast in a followup email, “There was never a formal complaint made and I always felt it was a private matter that was resolved appropriately,” while also reaffirming his innocence of the ongoing sexual assault investigation.
Donaghey’s career regardless continued, including his relationship with Cinestate, the Dallas-based movie studio behind “Brawl in Cell Block 99” and “Dragged Across Concrete” that hired him as an independent contractor in 2017. The studio also produced the film “Satanic Panic,” during the making of which, the report says, “actress Ruby Modine (daughter of Matthew) was pressured by Donaghey into performing a sex scene with an obsessed fanboy.”
As confirmed to IndieWire by a company representative, Cinestate cut ties with Donaghey earlier this year.
Read the full report over at The Daily Beast.