Teatro ZinZanni Audience Member Claims Performer Touched Her "Sexually But Without Consent"

Comments

1
OMG. People are too fucking sensitive. We may as well all just walk about in individualized bubbles.
3
@1, @2 shitheads
4
So many men saying "I used to get away with this shit, and now I can't, which stinks [for me]". Cry them a river.
5
Point of detail: was the vibrator deliberately on or is he attributing that to a vibrator misfire?

6
@2: hahaha, not the same thing. she didn't put her hand on your swimsuit area without permission. understanding the difference isn't particularly difficult.

"Senno ecto gammat!" -Leeloo Dallas Multipass.
7
I haven't been to ZinZanni but a lot of performers push boundaries like this. Sometimes the audience members don't mind because they feel safe it won't go past a certain point. Sometimes they are actively into it and see it as license to flirt with some guy (performing flirting). But it's not at all the same if you've been assaulted starting the same way, or for other personal reasons.

A good performer will work positive consent -- not "didn't escape" -- into their routine. Using one person in discomfort porn for others to laugh at is gross (even if they laugh uncomfortably too).
9
It's absolutely easy for ZinZanni performers to pull off their performances without touching audience members breasts or dry humping them, it's the suggestion of sexual innuendos that the audience finds funny, not actually doing those things. What's so hard about asking an audience member if they can touch someone before they do so? It's basic consent, just like we are teaching our kids. Ask before you touch, get a yes before moving forward. It just ain't that hard, it's what most performers are already doing and Zinzanni is behind the times.

Good point #8, if a woman has PG-13 photos on their Facebook page it must be OK to touch her sexually. She was asking for it, right?
10
@9 Not what I said, though the Slog overlords appear to see it your way.

My point is that community standards of decency are subjective and therefore nuanced, while the subject Facebook post paints the issue as much more black and white.
11
Buried lede: Teatro Zinzanni responded to sexual assault allegations with an email from a spokesperson who refused to be identified.
13
"Like nearly every one else in the entire world, she says those sorts of performances usually leave her with a few groans, but not outright complaints."

Glad to be in the minority. Audience participation has only one goal: humiliation. Getting the entire audience to laugh at the poor person who's participating is the bonus.

I've always found it to be on the sadistic side, if not outright hateful.
14
No, seriously, Rich — why did you go out of your way to avoid naming her? Is she the official spokesperson or not? If so, what's the big secret about her identity? Especially considering you quoted her talking about her own personal experience there.
15
When my wife met Veronin, she came away laughing. We had to ask her about the vibrating pants trick, it was amusing. Not any more I guess. Still a Veronin fan, wasn’t an issue for everyone. Agree with @1.
16
@15
Rubbing your crotch against someone who has already told you to leave them alone is not ok, under any circumstances. And just because your wife didn’t have a problem with it doesn’t mean she speaks for all women and that it’s ok for everyone.
18
@17 you’re not adding anything constructive to the conversation. You’re just being a troll.
19
@16 Two points I wasn’t trying to advance. The point I was advancing is that for many, the trick was funny and not threatening.

I think the inclusion of “East German” was “interesting“.
21
My wife and I took her father and his wife to Zanzanni...the woman Madame emceeing the show come over, removed his tie, put it around his head as a head band, placed her hands on both sides of his head, pulled his head forward and proceeded to rub his head forcefully in her ample bosom...Guess she was a sexual predator and should have been fired and arrested for sexual assault...
22
@20 You must be thinking of something else. The spokesperson, the witnesses, the actor, even another commenter here defending Veronin, all agree the sexual touching without consent was part of the act. Everyone agrees it happened, repeatedly and intentionally. The disagreement is about whether it's *wrong* to touch a woman sexually *as part of a performance* when he never asked her first and she doesn't want it.

@16 Some women are entertained by a man pushing his vibrating groin unexpectedly against their backs. Many women, including and beyond the two named here, have DISliked it enough to write public reviews that were not adddressed here. Your wife thought it was funny so the rest of us are supposed to like it too or we're being oversensitive?

As for the "interesting" "East German" reference, Voronin's appearance is similar to the creepy emcee in Cabaret - the musical which takes place in East Germany. It's a fair comparison.
23
For what it's worth (probably nothing at this point) I worked at the TZ box office for 5 years when they were on Mercer and I literally can't remember one person making a complaint of this nature (complaints about not wanting to be IN the show, yes, but not of sexual harassment). Veronin's been doing this act for literally decades. THAT SAID, times have certainly changed (mostly for the better) and I'm glad to see they are responding in a way that will hopefully improve the experience of those who are triggered by things like this.
I just don't like the accusation that many complaints were filed previously and ignored. At least while I was there, that was not the case (as far as I know).
24
@23 There are many more of these accounts on FB. This is just from yelp:
12/2/2017 The older man in the show grabbed me to dance and put a blindfold over my eyes. He pushed himself up against me and the whole time there was something vibrating in his pocket. Idk if that was something you guys use for the show but i did not like it and honestly Im pretty upset about it. Would not recommend. Definitely not worth the money.

1/7/2012 The main comedian pulled several men out of the audience, called them gay, and made them do childish things. He made one man stand on stage for over 10 minutes where he proceeded to dress the man as a woman and touch him everywhere. I felt it was very disrespectful and corny.

2/17/2016 No means NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...
Ive been here on 3 occasions and every time I've been selected to be part of the show. The first time I was a good sport and went on stage, the second time I was reluctant and said no thanks 3 times but they kept insisting I come on stage so I did, the last time it got real awkward as I stayed in my chair for 2-3 minutes, because I wanted to enjoy the show with my wife for our anniversary, and they would not take NO for an answer.

(Their response:
2/21/2016 Dear Patron,
While audience participation is a tradition at Teatro Zinzanni, we never want guests to be uncomfortable, the goal is always to show you a good time! In the future if you decide you'd like to give us another try, you can call the box office to make your reservation, and ask us to make a note that says "No touch table," which will be communicated to the restaurant and the performers that you are NOT interested in being part of the show. We appreciate your feedback and hope to see you again.)
25
@24

Or, instead of having the patron call the box office to ask for a note maybe train their fucking performers to respect refusals.
26
When I went to Zinzanni the first time, this guy did a trick involving taking my glasses off my face. Which was fine until before putting them back on me he decided to polish the lenses. On my breasts.

The second time I went he approached the table and I firmly told him to not touch me.

I am not at all surprised by this, and he should have been spoken to long before this.
27
@21 Did your father in law, at any time say "no" or indicate that he didn't want to be touched? If your answer is "no" then no, it isn't assault. The key item here is the consent. It isn't hard to figure out.
@23 Just because YOU didn't hear about the complaint, does not mean that complaints were not made.
28
@18 Look, I believe the victims. I believe them when they come forward and make the accusation. I believe them when those accusations are being investigated. Only when they have been proven to be false will I then NOT believe the accuser. More often than not the accusations are REAL.
29
Well, it didn't take long for this movement to become a parody of itself. It was a fucking burlesque show.
30
This show always looked creepy AF to me. Glad to know that my instincts are excellent, as ever. People will hand over their hard-earned money for the stupidest reasons.
31
Teatro ZinZanni have been great at acknowledging the problem and addressing it, props to them and the people that have come forward. It saddens me that some men immediately label the women coming forward as overreacting and tell them to get over it, when the parties involved both are having an open conversation about consent and show a willingness to adapt and change. For men to learn about consent and for women to have to deal with a lot less sexual harassment in this world, we need to have these conversations, rather than dismiss them. And we need to be open to believing the women that come forward and changing our views on things.

Teatro Zinzanni has the opportunity to incorporate publicly the idea of consent into their show, wouldn't that be a fantastic way to help change the way people think about things and respect people's bodies? They could have "I consent" cards at their tables for people to display if they want to be an audience participant or give a short funny intro about consent and let the audience members know they have the right to say yes or no and will be listened to by performers. They are creative people, I'm sure they can do better and keep it fun and entertaining.
32
@29 The majority of Seattle burlesque shows involve the host telling the audience not to touch performers unless invited and also tell audience members how to avoid unwanted interaction. I know because I attend 5-10 burlesque shows a month for fun and research.
34
Sounds like it was handled wonderfully by Zinzanni. They are not denying the reality of the act, they are just stating that times have changed and with the times they will change. Voronin is a member of our community along with his family. He entertains. This sort of theater is risque. I empathize with all but hope that they don't become a Disney-like sanitized experience as a result. No villains or predators here. The rules have changed and they are changing. His motives are likely not prurient and I doubt that he got off on this or on power, which is a major distinction between this situation and the matters that started the movement. Get a grip people.