the box

The Box Responds to Allegations; Gawker Backtracks on Calling it a ‘Slum’ Run by ‘Slime’

It's hard to be a saint in the city.

It's hard to be a saint in the city.Photo: Getty Images

After initially staying mum, the owners of the Box, perhaps realizing some good press is in order now that their liquor license is hanging in the balance, finally defended themselves against accusations of “inhumane treatment” launched by the Porcelain TwinZ on their MySpace Page and then on BlackBook magazine’s Website. Partner Randy Weiner tells the Times that the show might be sexy and transgressive, but rumors of everything from sexual harassment to in-house prostitution are false: “That’s not the way we run our business.”

His partner Simon Hammerstein says he didn’t force the twins twinZ to do anything outside of what a normal director would ask of them (“whether I change the tone or the color of something, I’ve never gotten anyone to do anything they don’t want to do”), and then proceeds to whip out — no, not that! — a series of e-mails in which the twins twinZ praised his artistic vision. Their photos of the trashed dressing rooms were actually of a backstage area, Hammerstein says.

Gawker wasn’t buying that on Saturday — weekend editor Ian Spiegelman linked to the Times piece, using the headline “Nightlife Slime Defends The Box,” (that “slime” being owner Simon Hammerstein) and describing the place as a “burlesque slum.” Today, the headline was magically toned down to “Beleaguered Burlesque Club Defends Itself,” and instead of a slum, the Box was a “downtown burlesque theater.” No strikethrough or note to indicate a correction. So did the Box, wary of more bad publicity, demand that Gawker defang the post (the original version can be found here)? Or did Spiegelman’s editor realize the notoriously bilious gossip had gone too far? After all, commenting on his own post, Spiegelman seems to advocate "a blade in the throat" (seemingly Hammerstein's). Not the most responsible thing to espouse when the truth is still uncertain and a business's fate hangs in the balance. And that it does — we hear the Health Department paid a visit last week. Presumably their verdict on those dressing rooms (or is it the backstage area?) is soon to come.

Beleaguered Burlesque Club Defends Itself [Gawker]
Imperiled, the Box Defends Itself [NYT]

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