Ain’t It Cool News Founder Harry Knowles Takes Leave of Absence Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

Harry Knowles King of the Nerds - H 2013
Wesley Mann

Harry Knowles King of the Nerds - H 2013

Knowles' sister will take over running the influential movie site as a wave of new accusations of impropriety surface.

Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles is stepping away from the influential movie site as allegations of a sexual assault and inappropriate conduct continue to swirl around him. 

Knowles tweeted Tuesday that his sister is learning the "ins and outs of AICN for take-over," adding that he felt she would do a "great job, while I step away." 

Knowles is taking a leave of absence from the site in the wake of a number of AICN contributors quitting as more and more women came forward with allegations. On Monday, the Alamo Drafthouse, which co-founded the genre festival Fantastic Fest with Knowles, announced that it was severing all ties with him.

The allegations against Knowles surfaced Saturday. IndieWire first reported that a former Drafthouse employee, Jasmine Baker, was claiming that Knowles "groped" her "opportunistically on more than one occasion." “I cannot just stay silent. I am not interested in remaining silent,” Baker added. 

Since then several women have come forward to allege that Knowles has subjected them to various forms of sexual harassment and assault over the years. Knowles has denied any wrongdoing.

One day after IndieWire's report, a Drafthouse customer named Gloria Walker accused Knowles on Twitter of having "on more than one occasion grabbed my ass and other parts of me." Walker cited another incident in which she tried to enter the cinema to watch Captain America; Knowles allegedly stood in the doorway and told her she "had to kiss him to get in."

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast published screenshots of a conversation between Knowles and an anonymous film blogger, in which he allegedly told her, "Come hither to Austin. Your eyeliner makes you look good enough to eat. Obviously I'm talking about cannibalism, baby. Youcan have my Vienna sausage anytime."

The Daily Beast report also quotes Britt Hayes, a writer who previously worked for the Drafthouse-owned Birth.Movies.Death who says she was contacted via Twitter direct message by Knowles, who hosted a 24-hour Fantastic Fest movie marathon called Butt-Numb-A-Thon.

"He said, ‘Do you want to know the real way to get into BNAT?’ and I was like, ‘Oh, what,’ and he said, ‘Show me your tits,’” Hayes recalls.