Film blogger Devin Faraci, who stepped down last October as top editor of film site Birth.Movies.Death amid allegations of sexual assault, is once again working for the site's owner — Austin, Texas-based movie theater chain and distribution company Alamo Drafthouse.
In a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter and posted to his Facebook page, Drafthouse CEO Tim League says that Faraci has "entered recovery" and has been sober since the allegations were made.
"Seeing the work that Devin has been doing to acknowledge his faults, to address his addiction, and to better himself, I thought it was important to contribute to his recovery process by helping him with some means to earn a living," League says. "Once it became clear that his efforts were sincere, I offered Devin copywriting work at Alamo Drafthouse and have recently expanded that to include writing blurbs for our Fantastic Fest festival guide."
The controversy began when a woman on Twitter asked Faraci if he recalled groping her on a dance floor in New York City in 2003. Faraci, now 43, released a statement in response, saying that resigning from the influential position at the film site was the "only honorable course of action" and that he intended on devoting the "coming weeks and months to work on becoming a better person."
Speaking at the time to THR, the accuser said that Drafthouse founder League had called her personally to discuss the company's response to her allegations. "I'm really happy that Tim League took this seriously and that Devin is interested in getting treatment," she said.
From that moment on, one of the most opinionated, outspoken and pugnacious voices in all of film writing fell uncharacteristically silent.
But as chatter built this week for Fantastic Fest, Drafthouse's annual horror and sci-fi film festival kicking off Sept. 21 in Austin, so too did questions of Faraci's involvement, both in the fest he helped to grow and the company that bankrolls it.
In past years, Faraci had been a prominent figure at Fantastic Fest, hosting lively panels and Q&A sessions and even climbing in a boxing ring with indie director Joe Swanberg.
(The fight came after Faraci published several articles deeming Swanberg's films "unwatchable." Swanberg knocked Faraci down in under one minute.)
A Facebook post published Monday by Drafthouse regular George Hickman — the cable-TV engineer loves the theater so much, he got married there in 2015 — noted that Faraci's byline appears on multiple movie blurbs in the festival program.
"I see this as the Drafthouse re-opening the conversation about him," Hickman wrote. "He will almost certainly be at Fantastic Fest this year. How do you feel about this and him? He has certainly paid a price professionally, is it enough?"
Response to the Facebook post and an accompanying tweet was vociferous, with much of it critical of Faraci and of Drafthouse for continuing to employ him.
"If Faraci has still been writing for Drafthouse all this time, that is SUCH a scummy, cynical move from them," tweeted Rebecca Pahle, an editor at Film Journal.
New York Times film critic Glenn Kenny went further, tweeting, "Looks like an Alamo Drafthouse boycott is in order."
League's full statement on Faraci follows:
“Nearly a year ago, sexual misconduct allegations were brought against an Alamo Drafthouse employee, Devin Faraci. Though Devin did not recall the event, he did not doubt the allegations. Instead, he acknowledged the wrong, conveyed his sincere regret, and vowed to make the necessary changes in his life to prevent something like this from ever happening again. Devin took the allegations seriously, as did I, Alamo Drafthouse, and Birth.Movies.Death. As a result, we agreed the only course of action was for him to step down from his role as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death. We needed to make a clean break and change the leadership, and accordingly terminated his employment. Devin has not written for Birth.Movies.Death. since.
A culture of sexual harassment and gender inequality persists in our society and specifically within the film industry, and much work remains to fix this problem. By engaging in dialogue about these issues, and by holding people responsible for their actions, we can begin to bridge the gap between where we are now, and where we need to be. Without question, sexual misconduct is impermissible. The question is whether there is any path to redemption, and if so, what that path looks like.
Devin has spent the time since this allegation examining the choices he made that led to it. He has recognized and acknowledged his struggles with substance abuse; after stepping down, he immediately entered recovery and has been sober ever since. This is an important step in the right direction.
His departure from Birth.Movies.Death meant losing his job, his livelihood, his career, and his place in the film community, but Devin has started the work to rebuild himself first with the understanding that all else is secondary. Seeing the work that Devin has been doing to acknowledge his faults, to address his addiction, and to better himself, I thought it was important to contribute to his recovery process by helping him with some means to earn a living. Once it became clear that his efforts were sincere, I offered Devin copywriting work at Alamo Drafthouse and have recently expanded that to include writing blurbs for our Fantastic Fest festival guide. He does not hold any leadership position at Alamo Drafthouse or Fantastic Fest and is not involved with Birth.Movies.Death. in any capacity.
I understand there's some discomfort with the idea that Devin is once again employed by the Alamo Drafthouse. However, I am very much an advocate for granting people second chances, and I believe that Devin deserves one. He continues to confront his issues and to better himself with the help of his friends and family. I am proud to consider myself a part of this process.
Human beings make mistakes, and when they acknowledge those mistakes and embark upon a journey of personal improvement, they deserve forgiveness. If, god forbid, I somehow find myself in a similar place down the road, my hope is that my actions up until this point have warranted others to offer the same help to me.”