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Famous LA cinema's leadership face sex harassment claims

A Los Angeles area cinema that is well known in the city for, among other things, showing silent movies, is now being accused of itself keeping silent despite having a pervasive culture of upper management taking advantage of younger, female employees and volunteers.

Two of top executives at the cinema, as well as the chairman of the theater's board of directors, have all resigned in the wake of the scandal. Although initially the theater came out decisively that it would never have allowed such behavior, a later statement suggested the theater would take a step back from business and allow an auditor to investigate reports of systemic sexual harassment.

The theater has been sued once before for sexual harassment and settled the matter out of court several years ago. However, the allegations are that one of the executives would frequently and inappropriately "hit on" and enter in to relationships with young women who were volunteering at the theater, which operates as a not-for-profit. The executive is also accused of entering into inappropriate relationships with paid staff.

Although many people have come forward of late with stories about this executive, he has indicated that the accusations are coordinated and designed to undermine the theater's operations. He believes that they boil down to former volunteers and staff being disgruntled.

As the facts of this case get sorted out, it bears repeating, as previous posts here have discussed, that California employers must not allow an environment that even suggests people have to trade sex or sexual favors for career advancement. If the environment gets so hostile that an employee feels forced to quit or, worse, actually gets fired when resisting, that employee may have the right to pursue legal action.

Source: BuzzFeedNews, "Former employees of a beloved LA movie theater describe sexism in the workplace," Ariane Lange, Aug. 28, 2017

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