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November 2nd, 2005 Leah Sottile | Rogue of the Week
 

Richard Beer

     
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For Shannon Donaldson, her former job at the Hollywood Theatre wasn't about bringing home a paycheck. As manager from 2001 to 2003 at the Northeast Portland nonprofit theater, Donaldson reveled in the 79-year-old building's ornate details and community-center vibe.

When her supervisor, Richard Beer, let her go in 2003 four months after giving her a gleaming performance evaluation, she didn't approach the Rogue desk. But a much more recent flap over blacklisting led Donaldson WW's way and earns Beer this week's Rogue.

Donaldson had eagerly offered to volunteer when asked by the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival's coordinator to help last month with the festival at the theater. Rocker Patti Smith was scheduled to appear, and Donaldson was widely known as a Smith fanatic.

When Beer learned about Donaldson's involvement, he emailed her that she was unwelcome, and banned from any events even remotely affiliated with the theater. Staffers were told to decline her admittance.

Donaldson—whom four former workers described as a mediator between employees and management, "a calm in the storm" of a chaotic work environment—learned of her exclusion two and a half years after Beer canned her in March 2003. At that time, Donaldson won an unemployment-benefits dispute with Beer.

Former employees and renters have written the theater's governing body, the Oregon Film and Video Foundation's board of directors, describing Beer, who did not respond to WW's requests for comment, as "a serious hindrance" and "a petty bully." (WW's Longbaugh Film Festival, which has worked with the Hollywood for three years, has not filed a complaint.)

Donaldson says the latest dispute means she has become another name on Beer's long "shit list," but also the first one she knows of to be banned from the Hollywood altogether.

Maybe the theater's next offering should be Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's new movie about 1950s blacklisting.

 
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