On The Case of Devin Faraci and the Alamo Drafthouse by Austin Shinn

If I had my way I would never have to utter another word about Devin Faraci.

I don’t like him. I never found him talented. I didn’t like him when he was just a creep on the internet who was rude to people. I definitely didn’t when it became clear he was genuinely verbally abusive. I came to hate him when he was accused of sexual assault, which even he himself believed he committed. I don’t want to have to talk about this ass anymore.

But unfortunately Faraci falls at a very specific intercept point for me, one that means I have to talk about him. He’s both a film critic and, to use a crude but fitting term, a bully. These are two subjects I care greatly about. Thus I’m getting this in print.

Many of us in the film community were shocked to learn this week of the Alamo Drafthouse’s decision to quietly rehire the man after these charges drove him from the company last year. Not only that, they did so apparently a mere month after firing him. This is the chain that cashed in on good publicity this year with women only showings of Wonder Woman only to pull this. They’re now suffering with films withdrawing from their festival and their image destroyed.

There’s been a real profound sense of shock in the community this week and I get why. Cognitive dissonance is a painful thing. We love the Alamo but they betrayed us. Many of the critics who’ve been the angriest know/love CEO and Founder Tim League personally and think highly of him. For them, the betrayal cuts deep.

The thing is, I’m not shocked. Devin Faraci is just the latest guy to enjoy the benefits of a system that rewards toxic monsters and punishes the good. He’s a bully lucky to live in a world run by the bully system.

What do I mean by the bully system? I mean the set of behaviors practiced to let borderline/actual criminal men off the hook for their misdeeds. It’s the way we double over to forgive these people as long as they say they’re sorry. Not that they actually are sorry. but that they fake it. The victims are ignored in all of this for they have no say and don’t matter. It’s what’s good for larger society that we’re fixated on. Besides, we like their work.

This is the reason Mel Gibson finds work. It’s why Mike Tyson got a cartoon. It’s why David O. Russell can be the blandest filmmaker on Earth. It’s why we still hail Woody Allen. These are people who are known to be profoundly abusive, toxic people. But we’re entertained by them. They’re friends of ours.

This is wrong because it tells abusive people their deeds have no consequences. It tells victims that no, they don’t matter. They can scream all they want but nobody gives a damn. And it tells people who aren’t so privileged to have friends or fame to get a leg up that no matter how good at their jobs they are, they’re not as good as a truly bad person.

I want to go into that last point. There are so many talented writers on film out there, many POC such as the gifted Richard Newby and Lauren Warren. These are writers who deserve epic platforms and whose work I adore. They deserve a fair shot. So how can I be content with Alamo Drafthouse when a position that could go to someone of merit goes to the CEO’s friend? The system works again.

There are so many victims here. First, there’s Faraci’s victims who get the “joy” of being reminded their abuser is still out there and has benefitted from his connections. Then there’s the employees at the Alamo chain who will suffer from boycotts far more than League. They were by all accounts just as blindsided and a few have quit. The critical community will be robbed of a chance to do their jobs.

So what acceptable solution is there? Just one. Tim League must step down. Firing Faraci again was a good start but it’s not enough. League damaged his business and now he must pay the consequences. He lied to his investors in the name of protecting an abusive man. He protected a friend who wasn’t worth protecting. He. Must. Go.

And with that said, I hope I never type either name ever again.

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