Fox Searchlight has canceled a planned screening of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at Fantastic Fest amid controversy regarding Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s employment of a copywriter previously accused of sexual assault.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Austin-based company, which runs Fantastic Fest, had rehired Devin Faraci. Last October, the Birth.Movies.Death editor-in-chief was publicly accused of sexual assault, leading to his resignation from the Drafthouse-owned site.
On Tuesday, Drafthouse CEO Tim League defended giving Faraci a second chance, citing the “work he had done to rebuild himself.” Then, the next day, League announced that he and Faraci had agreed it was the “right decision” for the writer to resign, again.
The news resulted in the well-received Three Billboards being pulled from the film festival that begins on Sept. 21, which Variety first reported. “In light of recent events, the makers of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, have decided not to participate in Fantastic Fest,” a Fox Searchlight rep said in a statement to EW.
Starring Frances McDormand as a grieving mother who’s pushing the local police department to investigate her daughter’s rape and murder, Martin McDonagh’s film premiered to very strong reviews at the recent Venice International Film Festival.
Following the further backlash, League apologized on Friday for his “problematic” decisions. “I am very sorry,” he wrote on Facebook. ” I’ve let so many of you down. Over the past few days, I’ve realized that decisions I have made over these past months have been problematic. I am concerned about what these choices may say about me and the values of this company to employees, customers and the community at large. I’m humbled and deeply sorry. After getting past my defensiveness, I’ve heard so many perspectives, and I realize how I disappointed and hurt people. Going forward, my goal is to apologize and change course.”
Three Billboards, which also stars Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, opens in theaters on Nov. 10.