Day For Night, regarded as one of the best new music festivals in the world, now faces an uncertain future after news that founder Omar Afra has become embroiled in sexual assault accusations.
Afra, who also founded the Free Press Summer Fest and served as Publisher & Owner of Free Press Houston, has stepped down from his positions in a statement posted to his Facebook Page.
“I can’t begin to say how saddened, shocked, and embarrassed I am for the developments over the last several days. This has been very heavy and traumatic to my wife and children and they have had to unfortunately endure the hurt here as well as the many death threats. In the recent years I have veered away from what I knew was right and caused pain to those around me including family and friends. I am most sorry to Andrea, a woman that has stood by me for 20 years now. Because of this, I have been in therapy for over a year and have been doing some real work on myself and trying to get back on the path of focusing on the real me; a man who loves his family and wants to do right by people. In the best interest of Day for Night and Free Press and their respective stakeholders, I will be stepping down from my positions there. But I have no choice but to fight back against allegations that are patently false. It would do no justice to anyone for me to capitulate to lies and fabrications. There is so much more to know about this coordinated attempt but this is clearly not the forum to do so. If I am to move forward on a path of true integrity I need to apologize for what were bad decisions but fight falsehoods tooth and nail. Thank you to the many supporters and friends who have reached out publicly and privately. Thank you most to my wife, my mother, my sister, and other family and friends who have pledged their support during all of this.”
Day for Night’s creditors have foreclosed on the ownership group of the festival, effectively removing Afra, who founded & curated the acclaimed festival that has hosted acts such as Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Bjork, Thom Yorke, Kendrick Lamar, & St. Vincent among many more. The festival’s Facebook page has posted the following statement:
“The creditors of Day For Night were shocked and saddened to hear of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Day For Night founder, Omar Afra. We stand with all victims of abuse.The creditors have deemed it appropriate to foreclose on the entity which owns the festival, effectively removing Omar Afra from any ownership or involvement in Day For Night from this day forward.
Out of respect for these alleged victims, any announcement about the future of Day For Night will be made at a later date.”
Afra’s accuser claims that he lured her into a meeting by offering a job with Day for Night. After meeting in public, they went back to Afra’s apartment to continue to talk, at which point the accuser claims that Afra made unwanted advances and touched her without consent. Screencaps posted online of a text conversation between Afra & his accuser reveal that Afra acknowledged that he was “forward” & apologized for his actions. Afra claimed that he was separated from his wife and was “in a tailspin”.
A second woman has also stepped forward to accuse Afra of a sexual assault 8 years ago when she was employed as a photographer at Fitzgerald’s where Afra’s group managed & booked the classic Houston venue. Afra has yet to address these new allegations, but there is sure to be more fallout from this developing story.
Check out the slideshow below to see the text exchange between Afra & his accuser.
UPDATE: Omar Afra’s wife, Andrea has made a statement online saying that there was a concerted effort by ex employees to use a hard time in their marriage to smear her husband. Below is her full statement:
“I want to thank our family, friends, and kind strangers who are supporting us through this and those who reached out to check on us, our kids, and loved ones. It has been traumatic and that is using the word very lightly.
A small group of disgruntled former employees and acquaintances (some we called friends) teamed up and worked on this campaign for several months for their own disgusting gains and are continuing to lie publicly. This can all be proven and they will all be named and held legally accountable. That brings me a bit of peace but is testing my patience. My mercy for these people will only be extended if they decide to publicly apologize and admit to their participation because my gut is telling me one or two of them may have been manipulated or coerced by the others. I want those apologies for our sons more than anything.
I love my husband, my partner for 20 years, the father of our sweet boys, but I couldn’t stand so firmly and strongly by his side if I didn’t have more than ample proof he is being wrongly and horribly vilified. I have wanted him to leave the incredibly stressful festival life for years now because it was eroding his spirit. I watched him spiral into such a dark and confused place that he sought affection and approval from other women who were very willing to stroke his ego. We started marriage and individual counseling over a year ago and even separated for a few months. It will always be the worst time of our lives.
But I knew he wanted to be a better man and wanted another chance to live with his heart leading the way instead of letting his insecurities drag him to his own sabotage. And I love him so much I had to give him that chance and I know that will always be the best decision I ever made. He is good. He is worthy of love. He has been a better man and has regained the part of his soul that went dormant after being ignored for so long. When you’ve been through so much in life with another person, you begin to feel what can’t be seen or measured in any other way. I believe this is our souls communicating in the only way they can while trapped in the confines of this physical world.
For those friends who feel the need to publicly distance themselves from him, he understands. I really wish you were more patient, but I understand self-preservation combined with social pressure is the driving force, especially here in the biggest small town in the world.
So to those of you who had hope this would ruin our marriage, sorry to disappoint you— I love my husband more than ever and hope this open look into our private lives will help others see how love will always win if you let your heart be your compass. Our 17th wedding anniversary is at the end of this month and our 20-year anniversary is in October. We have been together over half our lives now and will die loving each other. We are stronger than ever. Love has already won.”