Internet | October 1, 2017 5:00 am

Behind the Downfall of Ain’t It Cool News Founder Harry Knowles

Movie-geek website founder steps aside after accusations of sexual assault and mismanagement.

Harry Knowles, founder of Ain’t It Cool News, stepped away from the site he founded on Tuesday in the face of sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Knowles practically invented film geek reporting, but contributors told TheWrap that he and the site had lost its way, because of “Knowles’ ego, lack of business skill and sense of entitlement.”

Knowles was injured in the early 90s, and spent a lot of time in bed. It was then that he became obsessed with movies and started Ain’t It Cool News. 

The site was booming in the late 1990s when a woman came forward and said that the creator had been repeatedly touching her without her consent. Knowles was also accused of “getting in bed with any producer who will wine and dine him,” by The Guardian writer John Patterson. Knowles was criticized for turning his attention to other projects, like chat shows and trying to produce movies. Slashfilm.com founder Peter Sciretta told TheWrap that Knowles neglected his creation while his employees “minded the store.” For example, it was reported that Knowles and business manager Roland De Noie failed to give the necessary paperwork to staffers so they could file taxes.

The first woman to accuse Knowles of sexual assault was a film fan, Jasmine Baker, who came out to IndieWire, saying Knowles had rubbed up against her on different occasions and had put his hand up her shirt. When she confronted him, he reportedly just giggled about it. Then Austin resident Gloria Walker tweeted that Knowles had grabbed her buttocks and other parts of her.

An Austin film writer also tweeted that Knowles sexually harassed her.

As more women continued to come forward, Knowles denied it all. But on Monday, the public outcry grew so loud that longtime Ain’t It Cool News staffers Eric Vespe and Steve Prokopy chose to resign from the site, followed on Tuesday by Knowles himself stepping aside.