A number of burlesque performers have reacted with shock to the alleged actions of New York Boylesque Festival producers Jen Gapay and Daniel Nardicio, who, according to an article published on Queerty.com, have excluded burlesque performer Go-Go Harder from this year’s festival.

Go-Go Harder told Queerty.com that he has been “officially banned from performing” at this year’s New York Boylesque Festival, which he claims is due to his work in porn. In his article for the website he claims that “my on camera adventures are apparently just too hard to handle for the producers of the Boylesque Festival, and it was made clear to me that I was not welcome on either night’s stripping festivities, despite the fact that I had helped organize year one’s events and that a quarter of year two’s participants had all taken my Boylesque classes.”

Jen Gapay with Angie Pontani at NYBF 2013. ©Angela McConnell
Jen Gapay with Angie Pontani at NYBF 2013. ©Angela McConnell

21st Century Burlesque Magazine reached out to New York Boylesque Festival co-producer Jen Gapay for comment on this story, and she responded as follows:

“As the co-producer of The New York Boylesque Festival, I can honestly say that the festival and its producers are supportive of sex workers and work with them on a regular basis.

The decision to not have Chris Harder perform in this festival is a personal one based on the personal relationship between co-producer Daniel Nardicio and Chris. Chris and Daniel were boyfriends and lived together for over 2 years. Obviously this is a matter of the heart and not about the festivals stance on the porn industry.

As far as past festivals go, Chris did not help organize the 1st Annual Boylesque Festival; he taught a class in conjunction with the festival and made all the money that was generated from that class, and yes, there were performers that participated in the 2013 festival that had taken classes from Chris, but certainly not a quarter of the festival performers as he claims.”

Daniel Nardicio added:

“I’m saddened that my ex Chris chose to play this out for publicity. As anyone who knows me and my career can attest, I’ve been more than supportive of the porn community. And I employ and promote sex workers regularly. I’m known as the “king of queer sleaze” in the gay media for Christ sake. I was VP of marketing for Playgirl for 3 years and I hired Chris for a shoot: how could I be anti porn? This is between two guys who were lovers and one needing distance – anyone who was in a relationship should be able to understand that. Oddly Chris left out that we were in a 3 year relationship not that long ago.  I respectfully asked him not to participate – he wasn’t banned. If he had any respect for my feelings, he would have complied. At the end of the day, it’s a gig, that’s it. Is it worth all of this over a gig?”