Grandma the clown has stepped down after admitting he pressured a 16-year-old to take pornographic photos in 2004. According to the Cut, former aerialist Zoey Dunne accused performer Barry Lubin in a letter that was sent to the Big Apple Circus on Friday.
Lubin became famous for his Grandma act, which headlined the Big Apple Circus for 25 years. The 65-year-old resigned in a statement through his lawyer on Tuesday, according to the circus’s chairman. “The allegations are true. What I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” it read.
Lubin left the Big Apple Circus in 2012 but returned three months ago. Dunne decided to use his return as an opportunity to come forward with her story. She previously tried to tell the circus back in 2012, but since he was no longer working for the company, they told her they weren't able to take any action. She also went to the police in 2011 or 2012, according to the New York Times, but the statute of limitations had expired.
According to the Times, Lubin contacted Dunne in 2004 offering her a position in the Big Apple’s mini-troupe. In order to get the position, Lubin said she had to model for his “personal photography business." The performer had her lie down in his trailer in a thong and spread her legs while he took photos. He paid her $100 in cash. He later asked her to do another photo shoot for another $100. When she tried to decline, he insisted saying his clients would be mad without more photos. “They told me that you’re one of the sexiest girls they’ve ever seen,” he told Dunne, and she obliged.
Lubin’s character as Grandma dons a gray wig, pearls, and a big red dress. Because of this persona, Dunne’s father hadn’t suspected Lubin had done anything wrong until his daughter shared what happened. “He’s the friendly grandma, how could he harm you?” he told the Times. “It’s like Bill Cosby: He’s not the character he plays.”