The fallout from the various scandals surrounding Fantastic Fest continues.
Following allegations of sexual assault against Ain’t It Cool News founder and Fantastic Fest co-founder Harry Knowles, longtime contributor Eric “Quint” Vespe has announced his departure from the site, along with fellow contributors Steve “Capone” Prokopy and “Horrorella.” Vespe announced the news in a statement posted to Twitter, which reads:
Given the recent allegations against Harry Knowles of behavior impossible to defend I can not, in good conscience, continue to contribute to the brand I helped build over the last 20 years. Effective immediately I am leaving Ain’t It Cool News.
This decision doesn’t come lightly and carries a considerable amount of emotional weight for me and my colleagues who have also decided to step away from the community that we love, including Steve ‘Capone’ Prokopy and ‘Horrorella.” Ain’t It Cool has been my home since I was 16 years old, however I feel to stay would be showing disrespect to survivors of harassment and abuse.
Knowles didn’t attend the festival he co-founded this year, and Ain’t It Cool News dropped out as a sponsor, amid allegations published by IndieWire that Knowles repeatedly groped a woman at Alamo Drafthouse events. Additionally, the report claims that the woman informed Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League about the assaults and was told to just try to avoid Knowles. According to the report, League co-founded the event with Knowles after being told of the alleged assaults, which included Knowles allegedly rubbing up against the woman and putting his hand under her shirt. Knowles has “categorically” denied the allegations.
As to where Quint may end up next, that’s yet to be determined:
Hey, I don't suppose some outlet wants to publish any Fantastic Fest reviews and interviews. Mint in package. Good price.
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) September 25, 2017
UPDATE: Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League has provided Bleeding Cool with a statement about the various sexual assault and harassment allegations. League apologized to “the women we have let down” and said that Fantastic Fest is building a new board of directors as part of an effort to make Fantastic Fest “a safe and welcoming environment for all of our staff and guests.” Read the full statement here.
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