Monday, November 20, 2017

Cinefamily to close amid sexual misconduct investigation

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The independent Los Angeles movie theater Cinefamily, which had numerous celebrity supporters, said Tuesday it is closing in the wake of investigations into the sexual misconduct of two of its executives.

Cinefamily's board of directors said Tuesday that it was shutting down after 10 years of operation, citing crippling debt and "the conduct of some." The decision came after an exhaustive analysis of the theater's operational, reputational and financial status.

The theater came under scrutiny in August for sexual misconduct allegations against the theater's executive director Hadrian Belove and board member Shadie Elnashai. The accusations became public a month before sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein rippled through the culture. The board suspended activities of the theater and hired an independent firm to investigate the allegations and both Belove and Elnashai resigned.

Giles Miller of Lynx Insights & Investigations spearheaded the inquiry, during which no victims came forward to corroborate rape claims, but the investigation did uncover serious concerns and breaches of acceptable behavior, according to the board.

The decision to close, the board said, "comes amid the very necessary and overdue conversation about sexual assault and harassment in our industry."

Cinefamily had many celebrity supporters and fans including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Brie Larson, Jon Favreau, Sting and James L. Brooks. Many of the major film studios also financially backed the theater, known for its repertory screenings of off-beat or forgotten films and post screening Q&As with filmmakers.

The physical theater, located in West Hollywood, will be closed and renovated by the landlord.

"The Cinefamily was a unique institution with game-changing programming and a film-loving vitality," the board said in its statement. "We hope a new organization will emerge that reflects the positive spirit of the film community and finds a way to again celebrate the best of cinema in a healthy environment."

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