Simon Hammerstein, co-owner of downtown burlesque theater The Box—which pretty much everyone in the neighborhood wants shuttered—is sort of defending himself—mainly via proxy—against charges that he's a grunting hog who sexually harasses his female employees. And he's doing it in the pages of the Times' Sunday Styles, natch. First of all: he could never be untoward. Because he's engaged to a lady! "Mr. Hammerstein said he had recently become engaged and would marry 'in Decemberish.' He did not elaborate. Mystery, he said, is really the core of his business." As for charges that he regularly slapped female employees on their asses hard enough to leave bruises and that he coerced the Porcelain TwinZ, Amber and Heather Langely, to dirty up their act so that he could rename it "Twincest"? Oh, pooh-pooh. He's an artist!

“I’m a director,” he said. “I edited their show. Whether I change the tone or the color of something, I’ve never gotten anyone to do anything they don’t want to do.” Mr. Hammerstein said employees have access to a handbook in the payroll office that explains that anyone with a sexual harassment complaint can report it to one of two people, one a man and the other a woman. “They never complained when they worked here,” he said of the sisters.

The Langleys said they had never heard of the sexual harassment policy, had never seen an employee handbook and did not complain sooner because they feared losing their jobs. A performer at the Box who has worked there for more than a year and who requested anonymity because she fears being fired backed up some of the twins’ claims, saying that if there was an employee handbook, “that’s something that just started that was never passed out for the long-term employees.”