Cinefamily Suspends Activities After Sexual Harassment Allegations
Two executives recently resigned from the Los Angeles independent film venue.
Cinefamily, a Los Angeles independent film venue, on Sunday announced a temporary suspension of all activities after recent sexual harassment allegations. The statement comes after two top executives, co-founder and executive creative director Hadrian Belove and board of directors vp Shadie Elnashai, recently resigned from the company "in light of recent events."
A statement from Cinefamily reads: "Recently, claims were made alleging improper behavior by one of more members of the organization.The Board of Directors of The Cinefamily has no tolerance for any form of behavior that does not conform to the high standards demanded by our members and staff and that of common human decency."
Cinefamily also stated that an investigation is being made into the situation by Giles Miller at Lynx Insights & Investigations, an independent third party.
The temporary suspension of activities is being made to "allow for the investigation and necessary restructure of management and the board."
The sexual harassment allegations were brought to light in a recent anonymous email circulated on Monday to Cinefamily members about a 2014 case against Belove that was settled, according to Page Six.
Page Six also reported that the emails also accused Elnashai of "raping multiple women." Elnashai has denied this allegation and responded in a statement saying there is "a massive difference between what happened, and the anonymous email's most heinous and unfounded allegations that got such widespread attention."
"A year ago, an employee witnessed an incident at a Cinefamily party in which I wrapped my arm around a female employee's back," said Elnashai in a statement. "The man who witnessed it filed a complaint, an investigation was conducted by Cinefamily, and I was informed that my behavior was inappropriate."
Elnashai added: "My intentions are irrelevant: I made her uncomfortable, and that is inexcusable. I corrected my behavior, am full of regret and will never act in such a manner again. I also did not inform the board of the incident, and that, too, is unacceptable. There is a massive difference between what happened, and the anonymous email's most heinous and unfounded allegations that got such widespread attention: that I had committed a felony assault on unnamed women that were part of Cinefamily."In a previous statement on Tuesday, Cinefamily addressed the email of misconduct claims as "deeply troubling." The statement also included that Cinefamily has had one claim of harassment in the two years since the appointment of executive managing director Trevor Jones, which was of "non-violent nature and investigated thoroughly" and "action was taken in response."
Brie Larson, who is a co-founder of the Women of Cinefamily group, commented on the recent allegations as "upsetting" via social media.
"First, I would like to thank the brave survivors who spoke up - I believe you," Larson added. "The responsibility for handling allegations of this nature should never fall on the assaulted. Cinefamily prides itself on being a space of safety and communion - it is time for further action to be taken to ensure that."
Read the full Cinefamily statement released Sunday below.
Dec. 2, 11:40 p.m. Updated with statement from Shadie Elnashai