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Ensuring Safety When Hiring Performers: A Guide to Protecting Your Event


In light of recent allegations and scandals in the entertainment industry, it has become increasingly important for venues, individuals and organizations to exercise due diligence when hiring performers. The troubling cases of sexual abuse, including the allegations by 16 women against renowned magician David Copperfield and various incidents involving magicians in the greater Philadelphia area, underscore the need for vigilance. Here are essential steps to ensure you are hiring a performer without a past of sexual abuse.


1. Conduct Comprehensive Background Checks

One of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of your event is to conduct thorough background checks on potential performers. This process should include:


Criminal History: Utilize reputable services to check for any criminal records or past charges of sexual misconduct.

But in a world where many performers use a stage name or alias, how can you be sure?

It never hurts to ask if they have clearances, and if this is something they baulk at, proceed with caution.

Google certainly is your friend but like in the case of Jeff Carson, who is a registered sex offender and magician, you could be hiring one of his 6 different aliases.


Reputable FREE sites like https://www.offenderradar.com and https://www.familywatchdog.us/ are tools you can use to stay informed.


Professional Reputation: Investigate the performer’s professional history. Look for reviews, testimonials, and any signs of past complaints or controversies.


2. Verify Professional Affiliations

Many reputable performers are members of professional organizations that maintain high standards and codes of conduct. Check if the performer is associated with organizations such as:



3. Request References and Certifications

Ask the performer for references from previous clients, especially from events similar to yours. Follow up with these references to gain insight into their experiences and to confirm the performer’s professionalism and conduct.


Many schools in California and Illinois require that performers carry Sexual Abuse and Molestation (SAM) coverage in addition to their general liability coverage before permitting them on school grounds. It might be worth asking if your potential hire carries this type of coverage.


4. Use Reputable Booking Agencies

Booking agencies often have their own screening processes and can provide an additional layer of security. Choose agencies with a strong reputation for vetting their performers thoroughly.


5. Conduct Personal Interviews

A personal interview, even just over the phone, can reveal a lot about a performer’s character and professionalism. Pay attention to their responses, demeanor, and willingness to discuss their background openly.


6. Look for Red Flags

Be alert for red flags that might indicate a problematic past. These can include:


- Evasiveness about Background: If a performer is reluctant to discuss their history or provide references, it may be a warning sign.

- Inconsistent Information: Verify the consistency of the information they provide against what you find online or through other sources.

- Negative Online Presence: Search for any negative news articles, forum posts, or reviews that might indicate past issues.


7. Trust Your Instincts

If something feels off during your interactions with the performer, trust your instincts. It is better to err on the side of caution when the safety and comfort of your guests are at stake.


Ensuring the safety and enjoyment of your event should be a top priority. By conducting thorough background checks, verifying professional affiliations, requesting references, using reputable booking agencies, and being vigilant for red flags, you can significantly reduce the risk of hiring a performer with a history of sexual abuse. The recent allegations against David Copperfield and incidents in the Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey area highlight the importance of these precautions. Taking these steps will help create a secure and enjoyable environment for all attendees.


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By following these guidelines, you can help protect your event from potential harm and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone involved. If you have any concerns or need assistance in conducting background checks, consider consulting with legal or security professionals.

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