Longtime Ain't It Cool News reporter Eric Vespe has quit the film news site after sexual-assault allegations implicating the publication's founder emerged over the weekend.
On Monday morning, Vespe, who goes by the name "Quint" on AICN, tweeted that he was quitting in light of claims that AICN's founder, Harry Knowles, had sexually assaulted a former employee of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain. "Given the recent allegations against Harry Knowles of behavior impossible to defend I can not, in good conscience, continue to contribute to the brand I helped build over the last 20 years," he wrote. Vespe, who has contributed to the site since he was 16 years old, added that the decision "doesn't come lightly and carries a considerable amount of emotional weight." He added that writer Steve Prokopy and a contributor known only as "Horrorella" would also be leaving the site.
The allegations against Knowles emerged on Saturday, when Indiewire published an article in which Austin resident and one-time Alamo Drafthouse employee Jasmine Baker, who worked at the cinema chain from 2003 to 2007, accused Knowles of touching her inappropriately on at least three occasions at Drafthouse events. Indiewire said it spoke with two friends who confirmed that Baker had told them stories about the incidents. Knowles told Indiewire that he "categorically den[ies] the allegations."
Baker said she originally told Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League not long after the alleged incidents, and that they "thought it was horrifying, but also didn't know what to do." Baker has since spoken to the Leagues, she said, and is more encouraged by their latest response.
"They have told me that they are listening now and they're ready to take action. They're ready to do the right thing. So I look forward to seeing what that right thing is like," she told Indiewire.
Baker's statement follows public outrage over accusations of systemic sexual harassment at the Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles and Alamo Drafthouse's re-hiring of accused sexual harasser and movies reporter Devin Faraci, whom the cinema chain has again since fired.