We’ve chronicled the indignities that would-be Box performers have to endure: requests for “dumb, totally gross anthems,” etc. Another performer told us she was appalled when she was asked, moments before going on stage, to swallow a dildo instead of her usual sword. But this takes the cake: Burlesque performers Amber and Heather Langley, a.k.a. the Porcelain Twinz (best know for their show “Twincest”), have posted a screed, “Why We Quit the Box,” on their MySpace page. They, too, say they were forced to sex up their act (despite the fact that they’re sisters), but their allegations (which they say will soon make their way into a lawsuit) go way beyond that, and accuse Box honcho Simon Hammerstein of everything from maintaining filthy dressing rooms to abusing his dog, keeping house prostitutes, and pressuring the sisters into a threesome.
• “The green room is almost comparable to that of a garbage dump, where rats, roaches, and even maggots inside of dark lockers thrive.”
• “Hired staff prostitutes, in house drug dealing, open drug use throughout the club, open pot smoking and cocaine use, cigarette smoking, etc.”
• “Simon Hammerstein left his black lab dog named, Shadow/Shady, in the green room for days, and the dog defecated all over the green room because it was not properly cared for.”
• "Simon Hammerstein regularly slaps the girls so hard on the buttocks, that it leaves handprint welts for at least two days before leaving a bruise. This has happened to one of us as well as several of the classically trained dancers known as the "Hammerstein Beauties." Simon sexually harasses the employees constantly…"
• "Simon sexually harasses all of the Hammerstein Beauties requiring all of the girls to sleep with him if they want to have a job, or if they want to be chosen for a special spot in the show, while constantly pushing cocaine on them."
• “Beyond the constant sexual harassment, the employees must also endure the physical, emotional, mental, and psychological abuse by Simon. He abuses the tech staff on a daily and nightly basis, constantly putting them down, calling them idiots, and ripping headsets off of tech staff’s heads when he is in a fit of rage over something, screaming into the headset so that all of the staff with headsets on have to endure his screaming, causing complete distress to all those on the receiving end, not to mention hearing damage.”
• “Simon charged us $2000 a month for the 8ft by 20 ft room that [we] were sleeping in. After a month of staying with Simon, he started to realize that the two of us were never going to have sex with him. He constantly called the two of us "Prude." The countless number of sexual advances that he made toward the two of us were not working, and that is when he started treating us terribly.”
• “On the night of November 6th 2007, Simon Hammerstein would abuse his power and we would be forced to have sex with him so that we could remain living in New York city. This would be one of the most unpleasant, degrading, and humiliating experiences that we have had to endure, and one of many to follow as employees for The Box.”
• “On another occassion Simon physically wrapped his arms around Heather, like a bear hug, and dragged her into one of the stalls in the women’s room.”
• “[Partner] Richard [Kimmel]’s abuse is just as bad as Simon’s. Richard constantly sexually harasses many of the girls as well, and there are numerous accounts of this. Richard and Simon are two peas in a pod.”
We’ve asked the Box for comment.
This is Why We Left the Box in NYC [MySpace]