Last week part-owner Moby told BlackBook that even he finds the Box too depraved to visit, and today the magazine takes the first in-depth look at the cabaret since it opened almost a year ago. Of course, anyone who has dropped in after midnight (or auditioned there) knows that the shows involve more sex toys than a sale at Babeland — it’s responses to employee allegations of backstage decadence that interested us.
Hammerstein tells the magazine that he has a “set of ethics” and did nothing wrong, and one performer backs him up (kind of): “I’ve never heard anybody say that Simon forced them to have sex. He’d push drugs and alcohol on you like crazy. I’ve seen him get girls really fucked up, to the point where they weren’t making good choices. There’s a fine line there.” Another former employee says: “Simon created a culture. People smoked pot at staff meetings. Drank wine at rehearsal. The whole thing was fueled by drugs and alcohol. It changes the way you behave. I constantly had to make sure that Simon didn’t fire the entire band and not remember the next day or belittle the stage crew in front of large groups.” One performer says she was sexually harassed daily; another says Hammerstein is a harmless “vanilla boy.” Meanwhile, the Box’s liquor license expires at the end of this month — no word yet as to whether or not it will be renewed.
The Impresario of Smut [NYM]