Send in the Goons
A threat close to home suggests that I am the target of an "intelligence agency" hired to silence me.
A couple hours after sending the previous email to Christine Russell, Susan Mindell, and my attorney Leslie Ben-Zvi,, I walked to the Coffee Bean on Sunset Boulevard to get lunch.
By this date I’d ceased caring about my appearance, as I barely saw anybody. I’d given myself a crude haircut, swiping carelessly with the clippers, not bothering to double-check the back.
My decline almost felt good. Safer. The way that vulnerable prisoners become decrepit in order to deter predators.
At the Coffee Bean I got a latte and a lunch box, took a seat at a table on the northwest corner of the outdoor patio, and began to eat, scrolling on my phone.
Then I heard a voice.
I looked up. A scary-looking, ragged man stood over me, his stained T-shirt covered in dog fur. He was unshaven with thick, greasy greyish-brown hair.
“You know that Weinstein ring of spies he sent after those actresses?” he sneered. “They want you to drop your interest in that project.”
I was stunned. Mutely, I gestured for him to repeat it, which he did, word-for-word:
“You know that Weinstein ring of spies he sent after those actresses? They want you to drop your interest in that project.”
He stood leering as if he expected me to cower. But I knew I was good in a fistfight - for years before, I won a man-to-man scrap on the NYC subway when I stood up for a little old lady being bothered by a 6’4” drunk guy.
So “fight” it was. I’d had it with these bullies. I stood up to my full six feet and yelled, “WHO SENT YOU?”
The thug froze, backed away, then scurried to the parking lot - a pissed-off playwright hot on his heels, screaming “WHO SENT YOU? WHO FUCKING SENT YOU?”
He got into a crummy sedan that had signs and writing plastered all over it, including the words “Actor For Hire.” The goon backed out, lurched forward, and swung right on Santa Monica. I chased him a full block until he was out of sight.
And then I lost my shit. The “Weinstein Ring of Spies” was the talk of the industry, as Ronan Farrow had recently dropped the story of Black Cube, a shadowy Israeli “intelligence agency” that stalked and harassed the Weinstein whistleblowers. Suddenly the awful confrontations of the previous few months made sense.
Was the creepy guy telling the truth? It would explain the frightening threats I got in New York the previous August, and the 24 hours of terrifying encounters on September 20-21, and a few other “Huh?” incidents with people who hit me up for meetings. But this was different: an implied threat to my safety, a two-minute walk from my home.
They hired people? A quick look at the Black Cube website shows that they specialize in silencing corporate whistleblowers, the unfortunate position in which I found myself.
I shall repeat once more: a hit Broadway musical can be worth a billion-plus dollars nowadays. If I had the equivalent stolen in jewels, the threats would seem more plausible.
It was my curse that my stolen property was in the industry that brought us Jellicle Cats. It all sounded too ridiculous to be true, which I knew all too well, which they surely did too.
I stood, shaking with anger, on the corner of Sunset and Horn. I called John Buzzetti, getting his voicemail. I rained down epithets as I bawled him out for his cowardly shitty bullying behavior.
Then I called Leslie Ben-Zvi on the brief walk home to my apartment. I was still terrified, my words pouring out fast and furious as I described the scene. And Leslie was …
… sneering at me. Patronizing me. There was mockery in his voice. It wasn’t doubt. It felt like he knew something I didn’t.
“Are you sneering at me?” I couldn’t believe that he was minimizing what just happened, as if it was funny. “You’re fired, then!” I yelled and hung up.
Leslie was my last line of defense. I counted on him so much. When did he become one of the Mean Girls?
Thus ended my engagement with - and my faith in - members of the New York State Bar Association.
In nature specials, when an apex predator has captured their prey, the exhausted hunted animal often reaches a point where they stop running, stop fighting, stop resisting, and just give in to being dinner. They lay down, hoping death comes quick.
A lot of my fight died that day. I felt something die in me. There was no point in retaining another member of the New York State Bar, for all they did was use me. Leslie had started off strong, giving spirited defenses of my position, but by degrees he got sucked into the weird cult mentality surrounding my stolen show. Leslie eventually began describe his position to me as “mediator” as he complained about how hard his position was. But if he was the “mediator” in this exploitation scenario, who was my lawyer?
A broke artist can be controlled.
A broke artist in fear of his life can be owned. Like a slave.
I knew I’d seen the thug’s crappy “Actor For Hire” car around town, and my intuition told me that I could ascertain his identity with a little sleuthing. The guy seemed to style himself as a “character” and surely such a “character” had some publicity, however meager.
I did a Google image search for “’actor for hire’ car los angeles” and lo and behold, the results page was populated by my mercenary goon.
AUGUST 3, 2020
Over the following couple of years I saw Dennis at the Coffee Bean and did not engage. He had a scattered, spacey energy – perhaps deliberate – but it also suggested that he might not recognize or remember me.Then on August 3, 2020 I was at the Bean on the back patio, walking toward the parking lot, and saw him beckoning to me.
I turned away, hit “record” on my phone, and then walked past Dennis.
The harassment only grew scarier after the Coffee Bean incident, occurring at regular intervals. I remember many of these incidents moment-by-moment even years later.
Here ended my engagement with members of the New York State Bar Association.
With no lawyer to defend me, I was without defenders. So the predators went in for the kill.