In September Jezebel reported on a culture of sexual harassment at the popular independent Los Angeles movie theater Cinefamily. After an independent investigation was conducted, the board of directors for the theater have now decided to permanently shut down the organization and dissolve the board.
The Los Angeles Times reports that while the investigation did uncover “breaches of acceptable behavior alleged to have happened at Cinefamily offices and events; a climate that discouraged employees and volunteers from reporting distressing workplace incidents and/or made them feel unheard if they did so; and critical lapses in communication from the executive management to the Board.” The Board now believes that the damage due to the investigation and Cinefamily’s debt is “irreparable,” according to a statement.
Founded in 2007, Cinefamily was a venue for showing and premiering independent films in Los Angeles. In September an anonymous email circulated among members of the board and later publicly accusing executive director and co-founder Hadrian Belove of sexual harassment and board member Shadie Elnashai of harassment and sexual assault. In interviews with Jezebel, former volunteers and employees of Cinefamily described a mismanaged theater where women employees were frequently sexualized and people were not given proper channels to comfortably report harassment.
The theater suspended operations in August and enlisted Giles Miller of the firm Lynx Insights and Investigations to investigate the allegations of sexual assault and harassment. The firm reportedly used a hotline for complaints, gained access to the theater’s emails and internal documents, and interviewed current and former employees as part of the investigation.
Now the Silent Movie Theater, which Cinefamily was run out of, will be closed and renovated by the landlord. A source close to the building owners told LA Times said that they still want the space to be a venue for film exhibition and are considering whether they will start something independently or enlist an outside partner.
Update, 11/21/17: Former Cinefamily board member Shadie Elnashai has posted a statement following the investigation. He writes that he believes he has identified the sender of the original anonymous email and is “exploring my legal recourse against him.” He writes:
It is alarming that fake allegations with no proof instantly did so much damage. A community I cared about has been entirely upended and I have since lost employment at my previous job, as Managing Director of Sandwich Video. I am focused on rebuilding my career and a film community I loved in whatever ways I can. This statement is intended only to reflect my voice, my side of the story, and my gratitude to the many friends who have stood by me throughout.
Note: This headline was originally published as “Movie Theater Cinefamily Shuts Down Permanently After Sexual Harassment Scandal.”