The show is over for America’s most famous clown, who has admitted he pressured a teen performer into posing for lewd photos.
Grandma the Clown, the star of the world-renowned Big Apple Circus, is instantly recognizable with a gray wig, pearl necklace and red dress.
Now, Barry Lubin, the 65-year-old man behind the popular character, revealed to The New York Times that he pressured the then-16-year-old aerialist, Zoey Dunne, into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.
Dunne is now 29. At the time, she was thrilled to work with the famous clown at New York City’s Lincoln Center, where The Big Apple Circus is held, usually around the Christmas holidays.
But it turned sour when she claims Lubin brought her into his trailer and talked her into modeling in her underwear for him. He also told her not to tell anyone.
Lubin has resigned and through his lawyer, released this statement: “The allegations are true. What I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Last year, Grandma the Clown showed Inside Edition around The Big Apple Circus when it was held at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y. No one suspected at the time that he was hiding a terrible secret.
The Big Apple Circus, which is now under different management, says they didn’t know about the incident until Dunne wrote them a letter last week. They say they immediately suspended Lubin, who then resigned.
The circus says it is “heartbroken by this turn of events.”