Los Angeles' Magic Castle, a dream destination for every child and the most exclusive clubhouse for magicians, has been rocked by one of the biggest scandals in its 60-year history. According to a report published in the LA Times, Magic Castle is the hotbed of sexual abuse, harassment and racism.
The allegations definitely are quite damaging for the historic Hollywood mansion that over the years have staged the most elegant and spectacular magic shows in the world. The accusations have been made by several people including employees and customers. Even the magicians who have performed at Magic Castle, considered the mecca of magic, have been over the years been subject to sexual abuse and racism, the report claims.
At least 12 people have accused Magic Castle's management and staffers of subjecting workers and customers of sexual abuse, harassment to racial abuse, according to the LA Times report. One of the accusers is former waitress Stephanie Carpentieri, who said that the management has time and again ignored complaints of workers about sexual harassment.
Carpentieri said that the management didn't do anything after she complained that busboy repeatedly groped her breasts and grabbed her vagina on the job, the report mentions. "I worked there for six years. I did my job well. And when I needed to be protected by them, they created a hostile environment for me," Carpentieri, 38, said. "I just felt betrayed."
Another magician, Ed Kwon, who since childhood had dreamt of performing at Magic Castle, too shared his horrifying experience at the 62-year-old historic Hollywood mansion. Kwon said that he was subject to repeated racial abuse because he is Korean, including once by a co-magician during a brunch. Fed up with the continuous racial abuse not only made Kwon leave the castle but also the country.
Some of these people, including Carpentieri, who have sued the academy, claim that when they voiced complaints to the management, their concerns were not addressed or they suffered retaliatory actions, including loss of employment.
Management Indifferent to Allegation
Some of the accusers, in the report, say that the castle's management had a culture of "not believing in women". However, women weren't the only victims but eve men have been subject to sexual and racial abuse.
Terry Lee Lamair, who used to work as a bartender, said that Magic Castle turned a deaf year when she complaints that a co-worker had sexually harassed her. She alleged that instead of taking action against the co-worker, some from the management joined in to rebuke her including repeatedly referring to her vagina as the "Grand Canyon." Later in 2013, she sued the Castle.
That said, no such concrete action has been taken against the academy yet. Between 2011 and 2019, four employees sued the Castle for allegedly violating the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects against sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Except for Carpentieri settlements were reached with the other three.
In October this year, the Castle was finally sent a statement by The Academy of Magical Arts and its Board, asking it to improve the work environment. But nothing apart from that has happened, the report claims.