Cinefamily redefines “cinephile” amidst sexual harassment claims

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Cinefamily redefines “cinephile” amidst sexual harassment claims

Los Angeles, CA – Cinefamily has cancelled all its upcoming events amidst allegations of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination after notable executives “resigned” from the company. Cinefamily is a very popular independent theater in LA, with a clientele that includes top Hollywood actors and brass. According to reports, top executives at the theater started the firm as “a way to get laid” and begrudgingly implemented a sexual harassment policy that had no teeth. Cinefamily has released a statement denouncing the practices of these executives, re-emphasizing Cinefamily’s commitment to its female staff and making it clear that Cinefamily will not tolerate any sexual harassment.

Hadrian Belove and Shadie Elnashai resigned after they were accused of sexual harassment, Elnashai himself was accused of “raping multiple women.” Former workers and volunteers at Cinefamily have described the cult like atmosphere perpetuated at the theater. Many have accused Belove as using Cinefamily as his “personal dating service,” often preying on young interns and new employees.

William Morris, a former film programmer at Cinefamily, sent an email to Jezebel describing the atmosphere and rampant sexual harassment that occurred daily at the popular theater. Morris noted that Elnashai would often take young women that worked there- often in their late teens and early twenties- under his wing, with the hopes of getting a jumpstart to their careers in the entertainment industry. However, once in his clutches, Elnashai would often threaten women in to having sex with him, and when these women would come forward Elnashai, Belove and Trevor Jones would work in tandem to bury these accusations.

Morris further described the small scale things that these three men would do, such as “Facebook fishing,” a practice in which the men would log onto Facebook late at night and message girls who worked at the theater “whats up.”

In a separate incident, Morris described more sinister accusation that he had heard from his female coworkers. Morris reported that Elnashai would take women out for a night on the town, which often included a trip to Magic Castle, a local restaurant. Elnashai would buy these young women extravagant dinners, with the inference that these women owed Elnashai for the meals. These would often turn from subtle implicatures, to full blown threats where Elnashai would tell these young women that would not get jobs if they did not sleep with him.

Elnashai’s behavior is textbook sexual harassment. In particular, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their gender. Under Title VII, sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. The two basic types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Under the quid pro quo theory of sexual harassment, an employer predicates preferable job treatment, including having a job in the first place, on whether the employee acquiesces to a bosses (or coworker’s) sexual advances. Much like the position Elnashai put many of the young women in when he told them that they would have to sleep with him if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Under a hostile work environment theory of sexual harassment, an employer is liable for sexual harassment when their conduct is so severe that a reasonable person would conclude that the work environment is hostile. Much like the pervasive rape culture which became a trademark of Cinefamily.

Much like California, both New York State and New York City have many laws protecting employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, the New York City Human Right Law and the New York State Human Rights Law protected New York employees from harassment in the workplace.

The skilled New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment in New York City. Working together with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have garnered multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of our clients. If you feel you are a survivor or sexual harassment in the workplace, please give our talented attorneys a call, toll free, at 1877 4NYLAWS, for your free consultation.


Call today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment or employment discrimination legal Consultation in NY, NJ & PA with one of our top rated employment law or sexual harassment attorneys here at the Derek Smith Law Group. You can reach us online or by calling 877.469.5297. Our New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia labor & employment law attorneys handle a variety of cases involving sexual harassment, racial discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and other employment-related claims. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey and Philadelphia to serve you.

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