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My Castel Club In Hollywood

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Located steps from Hollywood Boulevard, the Magic Castle is a quirky, unpretentious room hotel with simple, spacious rooms, an exhaustive list of free perks Wi-Fi, breakfast, minibar treatsaccess to the exclusive Magic Castle club next door, and exceptional service.

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It was built as a private home in for businessman Rollin B. Lane, and aroundscreenwriter Milt Larsen set his sights on turning the building — by then run-down — into a private clubhouse for magicians.


Eventually, he visited the facility in for a paid workshop, and a tour afterward reduced him to tears. County Superior Court. When he has confronted men doing this, some simply turn away, but at least one got belligerent, Hannibal said, adding that at least half a dozen men are known to do this.

Lamair did not respond to a request for comment, and her lawyer, Stan Grombchevsky, declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws.

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A few months after that meeting, Carpentieri was fired. This L. In interviews with The Times, 12 people — among them guests and former employees — accused Magic Castle management, staff, performers and academy members of a variety of abuses, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of race or gender. In anChavez denied asking Kemp to rub the card on her breasts and said he did not touch her.

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I was As soon as she got in her car, she called her boyfriend to tell him about the incident and vowed that she would never go to the Castle by herself again. A longtime magician member accosted him during brunch, shouting racist invective. The lawsuit alleges her termination was a retaliatory act in response to her complaints of misconduct, which the academy has denied.

According to the complaint, in late or earlywhile at work, Portillo allegedly rubbed his crotch on Carpentieri and groped her breasts, behavior he repeated a few times. Hannibal also witnessed the act and sought out security personnel to handle the matter. Attorneys representing Portillo did not respond to requests to interview their client. A former server at the restaurant who worked with Carpentieri for castel years said Carpentieri told him about Portillo groping her multiple times — often shortly after the incidents allegedly occurred. Subsequently, Lamair alleged, her work hours were reduced.

After some awkward stage banter, Kemp realized Chavez intended to move uncomfortably close to her. A first-time visitor can easily get discombobulated amid the sprawling warren of theaters, bars and meeting rooms. He began to dream about performing at the venue, envisioning himself as a conquering neophyte who could captivate a room of bejeweled guests with the club of his playing cards. The job made sense for Carpentieri, giving her the flexibility to seek acting opportunities.

When Hollywood asked for an audience member to help with the performance, Kemp volunteered. Soon thereafter, she reported the incident to her supervisor, the complaint said.

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After the hearing, Chavez said, he was stripped of his academy membership and banned from the Castle. But the Castle also has been depicted as stodgy and out of step with the times. But women who volunteer to come on stage are often exploited, said Chris Hannibal, a magician member of the academy since InAndrea Kemp visited the Castle for an event with co-workers and took in a performance by magician Charles Chavez in the Cellar Theatre.

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Guests are routinely asked to assist in a trick, such as cutting a deck of cards. She also examined bookings for individual theaters at the Castle and found that in some years women had never been selected for certain rooms and times.

She claimed she was fired in retaliation for raising the issue. It paid well too.

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I immediately started crying. Trying to play along but unwilling to do as he wished, she rubbed the card on her neck, she said. But not long after his Magic Castle debut inan ugly encounter forced Kwon to reconcile his childhood fantasy with a different reality. But after enduring other offensive encounters tied to race at the Castle, he was left feeling alienated and unsure whether there was a place for him within the club.

Carpentieri also faced verbal and physical abuse from dining room manager Mikael Hakansson, her lawsuit alleges. InKristen Dawson, a food and beverage manager supervised by Furlow, sued him and the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo in San Diego County Superior Court, alleging sexual harassment and other claims, saying that Furlow asked her out to dinner and commented on her looks.

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Management questions As academy members have watched various lawsuits unfold, some have expressed concern that enacting much-needed change at the Magic Castle will be difficult under the current management — led by a man himself once accused of sexual harassment. For example, her report said that not one female magician had worked the late session in the Close-up Gallery, a prime venue, from through April For years, Kwon fixated on the Castle, the mansion that serves as the clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts, a group of about 5, magicians and enthusiasts dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the performing art.

Besides magician membership ranks that are overwhelmingly male, the academy is led by two bodies also composed mostly of men. In a written response, Randy Sinnott Jr. Sinnott declined interview requests. The majority of the magicians that I have witnessed performing treat women as either prey or props. According to an organization-wide sent in November, five of the seven members of the board of directors are men, including its president, Sinnott.

It quickly got awkward. The Times asked the academy more than 40 detailed questions about the reporting in this article. Afterward, a male magician approached her to compliment her on her skill. In the first four months offemale magicians were given 22 of the slots, or 8. I do have hope that shining a light on this stuff will make a change, because the Magic Castle And several lawsuits filed by former employees allege that no action was taken by management after they brought complaints to their superiors, managers or human resources workers.

As a boy growing up castel Seoul, Ed Kwon collected books about magic. From tothe academy was sued four times by former employees, including Carpentieri, alleging violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects against sexual harassment, hollywood and retaliation. The board issued a statement to members Oct. According to the complaint, she pleaded with management to reas the club offender, but her superiors never took action. The woman, then 23 and a new member of the academy, was asked to demonstrate a trick onstage.

But a recently uncovered lawsuit filed against Furlow nearly a decade ago — when he was clubhouse manager of a San Diego country club — has proved to be a flashpoint in the ongoing reckoning, with academy members heatedly discussing its allegations online in recent months. The craft became an obsession, and he pored over literature illuminating mysterious tricks of master illusionists.

Dawson was fired a month after filing the lawsuit and then amended the complaint to include a claim of wrongful termination. In Marchthe complaint alleged, Lamair met with Furlow and Bucks to discuss the harassment claims; a human resources representative was not present.

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The country club and Furlow denied the allegations and successfully petitioned the court to throw out several claims in the lawsuit, including those related to Furlow, allowing him to exit the case. Sometimes, though, a guest can wind up feeling more than just overwhelmed.

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In fact, the building itself — its stages and stairs — have created opportunities to exploit women, according to interviews with several guests and members. However, the way it has long operated has been called into question by lawsuits from former employees. According to the lawsuit, Hakansson departed after he was suspended for failing to report an unrelated incident in which a guest stabbed a server with a butter knife.

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A particular area of concern is one integral to experiencing a show at the Castle: audience participation. Ultimately, according to the complaint, the country club was unable to determine who had sent the messages.

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General manager Furlow, who was hired inhas by many s been able to improve business at the Castle, whose financial health was poor in the mids, several members said. And when I needed to be protected by them, they created a hostile environment for me. His deep reverence for the venue — which devotees regard as something of a cross between Carnegie Hall and Hogwarts Castle — quickly won him supporters within the club. Another woman — who requested anonymity because she did not want to hurt her standing as a member — described a similar experience while attending an instructional session that magicians receive as part of their membership.

Furlow and Bucks did not respond to requests for comment about the matter; Manelick declined to comment. Kemp was embarrassed — especially because her co-workers were watching. Some of these people, including a handful who have sued the academy, alleged that when they voiced complaints to management, their concerns were not addressed or they suffered retaliatory actions, including loss of employment. Then in Marchwhile Carpentieri was working, Portillo allegedly approached her from behind, reached under her skirt and grabbed her vagina and buttocks, according to the complaint.

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A trial in her case is set for August The academy, Bucks and Manelick, all of whom were named as defendants, denied the allegations in a court filing. She said that as the unwelcome behavior escalated, she began switching shifts with other employees to avoid being around Portillo.