Club promoters: everyone knows about them; many have had a personal encounter with them, but few shed light on the dark side of their business. These people, primarily men, make thousands of dollars per night by bringing in good-looking young girls, most of whom are underage, to cater to their predominantly heterosexual male audience. Hooking up constitutes an integral part of nightlife for those who attend their clubs and venues, therefore club owners address their marketing accordingly. This marketing strategy takes advantage of girls’ sexualities and puts them in the hands of hungry wolves. Night clubs are often the site of coercion, sexual assault and rape. Not only do club promoters perpetuate a predatory outlook on young women, but they also hinder their safety.
Modeling industry newcomers, who flock to New York for fashion week and various castings, are the most desirable prey. Top modeling agencies and managing companies warn their models against promoters and advise to brush them off without a second thought. Promoters are aware of these opposing warnings and set their sights on models who work for lesser-known agencies and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, mainly Eastern Europe and the Middle East. With little English-speaking proficiency, these girls arrive to the big city with hopes to jump start their careers, and promoters seduce them with the prospect of a luxurious, carefree lifestyle.
Many times these women are unaware of what they’re signing up for. The trick lies in concealing machinations behind the facade of an enviable offer: access to the best restaurants in the city, exclusive events and dream vacations –– all in exchange for partying at venues sponsored by the promoters. The wealthiest men in the industry even provide their models with apartments hosting from five to 15 girls each. But instead of eradicating these practices, modeling agencies only contribute to promoters’ success. Agencies make their employees live in low-quality, yet high-cost “model apartments” that resemble dormitory rooms. Often too young to secure an apartment on their own or lacking funds, the models take the promoters up on their offers.
A promoter takes his models “to more than one club per night, five to seven times per week,” former New York club promoter Roy Lugasi said in an interview with Metro US. They seem to disregard the detriment to models’ well beings that constant lack of sleep, intoxication and dehydration can bring about. When confronted about oppression and abuse of the girls who work for promoters, another veteran promoter “Travis” claimed that they agree to the deal of their own “free will.” What both men failed to acknowledge is that some models don’t perceive an alternative future and hence can not let go of the hook. Many become addicted to alcohol and other drugs associated with nightclubs and are unable to subsist without the dose.
The business expanded so much that Wall Street chose to partake. The EMM Group which owns some of the biggest clubs in New York is funded by Goldman Sachs. With their eyes set on the money bags, promoters are ready to go far. In the past, unsuspecting college students also have fallen victim to promoters, who either hire avid collegiate club-goers to bring their attractive friends to their events and help them bypass security or scour clubs for potential targets. Though this report is from 2006, it has been the prevailing student experience that this is still occurring. As no legal contract is involved to put them in charge of the girls’ safeties, promoters let alcohol, illicit substances and lustful men determine the outcome of their night.
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Email Dasha Zagurskaya at [email protected].