Barry Lubin, known professionally as "Grandma the Clown," has tendered his resignation after former aerialist Zoey Dunne revealed that he forced her to pose for pornographic shots in 2004.
The 65-year-old Big Apple Circus performer officially resigned on Friday, Jan. 19. In a statement published on Tuesday, Jan. 23, Lubin admitted that what he did to the then-16-year-old Dunne was wrong.
"What I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for my actions," Lubin said in a statement published in the New York Times.
Lubin used Dunne's maiden name, Philips, in his public apology, and he acknowledged that "what happened had a lasting impact on her life."
"I not only failed Ms. Philips, but I also failed in my responsibility as a man, as an adult, a father, and as a representative of the Big Apple Circus," Lubin said.
Lubin's Personal Photography Business
In her tell-all, the now-29-year-old Dunne recalled her first meeting with Lubin in 2004. He called her up for a job position at the circus' mini-troupe for hire. Dunne was thrilled since she had always wanted a circus career.
However, Lubin offered her another job — modeling for a Japanese paint-on tattoo company. The photo sessions for the said gig took place in Lubin's trailer.
During the first photo session, Lubin told Dunne to wear a thong and spread her legs while holding a paintbrush up to her genital area. He also told her to pull her underpants to the side to expose more skin, and he reassured her that a tattoo would be superimposed on her inner leg.
On the second photo session, Dunne vomited and asked to be excused but Lubin warned her that the company would get angry if he failed to submit the second round of photos.
The Trauma Lives On
Dunne's father, Tom Phillips, recalled that after the sessions, his daughter had a haunted look on her face. However, she told him everything was fine. Lubin eventually gave Dunne a circus career but the memory of those photo sessions haunted her even after she left the Big Apple Circus. She eventually told her parents about what happened. They also reported the incident to the authorities, but Dunne was not able to pursue the case because "the statute of limitations for pursuing any charges had expired. "
Dunne reported Lubin to the circus in 2012. However, Lynn Stirrup, the executive producer at that time, informed her that "Grandma the Clown" had left the circus, so she decided to drop the matter. Dunne filed another report against Lubin when she saw a Facebook ad about his return to the circus. "Grandma the Clown" returned after five years of not performing. Dunne recalled that she almost threw up on the bus when she saw the ad three months ago.