At least five women have come forward in the last week with allegations that Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles either sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. Former Alamo Drafthouse employee Jasmine Baker was the first to tell her story, but now four other women have shared similar incidents of Knowles either rubbing himself against them or grabbing at them, or in other cases, demanding topless photos.
Knowles hadn’t really responded to the allegations before today, but the film community in Austin (where he’s based) has, though some might say consequences are coming a little late—the critic’s alleged victims suggest there are those in the community who willfully ignored Knowles’ reputation. Regardless, the Austin Film Critics Association voted to remove him from its membership, and Fantastic Fest, which Knowles co-founded, dropped his entertainment news site as a sponsor. And a couple of longtime AICN writers stepped down from the site after learning of Baker’s allegations.
Now Knowles has finally sort of spoken up, tweeting that he would “step away” and leave his sister Dannie Knowles in charge of the site.
Some readers were immediately skeptical about the change in leadership, as one of the first post-Knowles-hiatus stories on AICN still had his byline. But Knowles, who ignored all other tweets about the allegations, quickly responded to tell everyone that Dannie’s own account would be created overnight.