Former Outfest members on Monday called for the immediate resignation of board chairs Bil Bertini and Nii-Quartelai Quartey due to their “failure of leadership during the events of the last two months.”
In September, the board denied that the firings of four employees were related to their union organizing efforts. The remaining employees voted to join Queer Filmworkers United shortly afterward, but a month later a mass email was sent announcing the immediate dismissal of all remaining employees, QFU’s statement said.
“Queer Filmworkers United is formally calling for the resignation of Outfest Board Co-Presidents Bil Bertini and Nii-Quartelai Quartey due to the rampant mismanagement and abysmal treatment of workers over the last year, which has resulted in the firing of all Outfest employees.” said the statement released on Monday began.
“Three times in the last two months, the Outfest board has decided to lay off employees or place them on unpaid leave, with unacceptably late notice and complete disregard for their livelihoods. Employees were laid off in dangerously short order when the organization suspended their health care, and no severance was offered in return for their hard work… [causing] “extreme financial distress,” the statement continued.
The statement went on to claim that Bertini and Quartey “were both responsible for the reckless manner in which the board dismissed the entire staff with complete disregard for their well-being,” citing the March 27 mass email. October, which was sent impersonally to “Dear Outfest employees.”
They also write: “Since the sudden mass layoffs, the board has cut off all communication with our union… These actions contradict our organization’s mission and do not reflect the spirit of caring that Outfest must embody if it is to succeed.” The statement was continued.
“Please join us in calling on these bad actors to step aside so we can get Outfest back on the right track. We are fighting for the future of Outfest and that future is only possible with its employees,” the statement concluded.
TheWrap has reached out to Outfest for a response.