Omar Afra, the founder of Houston's coveted electronic music event Day For Night, has been removed from any ownership or involvement in the festival following the recent sexual assault allegations made against him.
The first allegation, which surfaced on Thursday, August 9, comes from former nightclub photographer Veronica Ramos. According to Ramos, Afra forcibly kissed and groped her after she photographed a show at Afra's nightclub, Fitzgerald's, in October of 2010. She claims that the incident made her feel "unsafe in my own city and creative community" leading her to give up her passion for photography and "move across the world to Africa to get as far away as possible."
The second allegation from Phoenix Hamilton surfaced only an hour after Ramos'. Hamilton took to social media to tell the world that Afra forcibly kissed her after the two struck up a conversation about a job opportunity with Day for Night Festival in 2017. Both allegations have been further backed up by Afra's former employee Amanda Hart, who wrote on Facebook that Afra is guilty of consistently cultivating "a toxic work environment where people are manipulated, mistreated and abused emotionally."
Afra has responded to the allegations via a Facebook post where he announced that he would be stepping down from his position as Day for Night's executive director, along with his publisher position at the publication Free Press Houston.
Despite this, Afra says that he has "no choice but to fight back against allegations that are patently false." He goes on to say that the claims are a "coordinated attempt" to slander his name and he promises that he will "fight falsehoods tooth and nail."
Omar Afra is not the first festival founder to have been ousted due to sexual assault allegations. The founder of Los Angeles' FYF festival was accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault back in November of 2017 and was forced to cut ties with his festival and Goldenvoice. Learn more here.
Cameron is Mixmag's Jr. Editor. Follow him on Twitter here
Photo: Dave Rossman