Fantastic Fest co-founder Harry Knowles accused of sexually assaulting Austin woman two decades ago

6:49 p.m Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 MyStatesman.com

A story published by IndieWire accuses “Ain’t It Cool News” head guy and Fantastic Fest co-founder Harry Knowles of groping an Austin-area woman at Drafthouse events 17 years ago.

Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN Harry Knowles, of Ain't It Cool News, arrives at the 2008 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards in Austin, Texas on Friday, March 7, 2008.

In the story, titled “Harry Knowles Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Austin Woman Two Decades Ago, and Drafthouse Owners Didn’t Take Action,” a woman named Jasmine Baker says that Knowles rubbed up against her on more than one occasion.

Knowles denied the charges in the story and on Twitter.


The charges come after Knowles, whose company “Ain’t It Cool News” is a longtime supporter, sponsor and co-founder of Fantastic Fest, announced he was not attending this years’ festival (which started Sept. 21). The AICN banner no longer appears on the fest’s website. 

On Sept. 11, it came to light that former Birth.Movies.Death editor Devin Faraci -- who stepped down from the Drafthouse-owened publication in October 2016 after an accusation of sexual misconduct -- has been subsequently employed by the Drafthouse as an in-house copywriter.

The ensuing scandal has cast a dark shadow on the Austin movie institution, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. One Fantastic Fest programmer resigned in protest, Faraci published and retracted a statement, Drafthouse owner Tim League explained his actions in re: Faraci, the apologized, then stated he wouldn't be attending Fantastic Fest. 

Many participants in Fantastic Fest, the genre film festival that is the Drafthouse’s signature event, could be spotted wearing ribbons that read “We Are All Fantastic” and buttons that read “Uppity Women Unite.”

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