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‘Sex-positive’ NY orgy club accused of covering up rape, abuse as founder denies having performed non-consensual act

A prominent Brooklyn sex club that preaches safety, respect and “sex positivity” has been accused of covering up sexual assault during its wild orgies, including one woman who said she was raped and two others who said they were slammed against walls.

Ten current and former members of Hacienda alleged that the leaders of the group, which operates in a series of Bushwick townhouses, repeatedly failed to take action after they reported violent or creepy behavior, according to the New York Times.

One of the founders, a Brit who goes by Kenneth Play, has also been accused of publicly performing a nonconsensual sex act on a woman at one of the group’s parties about a decade ago — reportedly leading to him being banned from other sex clubs in the city, according to the Times.

Reached by email Monday, Play unequivocally denied the accusation.

Kenneth Play, one of the founders of Hacienda, was accused of publicly performing a nonconsensual sex act on a woman. He denies the allegation. Brigitte Stelzer
Kenneth Play, one of the founders of Hacienda, was accused of publicly performing a nonconsensual sex act on a woman. He denies the allegation. Brigitte Stelzer
Hacienda operates out of townhouses in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Angel Chevrestt
Hacienda operates out of townhouses in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Angel Chevrestt

“I stand wholeheartedly with victims of assault and never want to discredit a woman’s experience or stifle her voice,” Play told The Post, calling the allegations referenced in the Times article “unfounded and untrue.”

The group’s accusers, including women and non-binary people, said they were reluctant to report the behavior to police for fear of being discriminated against — and also felt that making claims against the club would betray its “sex-positive” ethos.

In interviews with the Times, the members claim that the club’s famously freewheeling atmosphere has more than once blurred the lines between a naughty good time and sexual abuse.

One woman, Jennifer Fisher, told the Times she was “badgered” into having sex by a guest of an orgy being hosted at the house in 2012, an encounter she felt had been a rape when she woke up the next morning.

However, Fisher’s loyalty to the community, as well as the unusual circumstances under which the alleged assault occurred, prevented her from reporting the incident to the authorities, which she told the Times she regrets deeply.

The Hacienda townhomes became private enclaves where members could gather, party, and even live, with tenants paying between $750 and $1,500 per month to rent a room in one of the homes. Brigitte Stelzer
The Hacienda townhomes became private enclaves where members could gather, party, and even live, with tenants paying between $750 and $1,500 per month to rent a room in one of the homes. Brigitte Stelzer

“How do you call the police to report something that happened at a sex party?” she told the outlet. “They’d come and say, ‘OK, which deviant do I arrest first?'”

But even when such assaults were reported, some members found leadership’s response to be lacking.

Two different women said they had been “slammed against walls” by Hacienda partygoers, claiming the offenders were not punished when they came forward, according to the Times.

Three others said they had reported “threatening behavior” by sex party guests but had their complaints “brushed aside,” including one woman who said her identity was later revealed to the person she had accused, the Times writes.

The organization and its leadership have vehemently denied the allegations, telling The Post in a statement that it handles any improper incidents appropriately.

Play is one of three founders of the Hacienda sex club. Angel Chevrestt
Play is one of three founders of the Hacienda sex club. Angel Chevrestt

“While regrettable instances do happen in the sex-positive community, we have very specific rules and procedures put in place to keep safety at the forefront,” Hacienda said.

“Incidents, while rare, are taken seriously and handled promptly.”

The group was founded by polyamorous married couple Andrew Cray and Elizabeth Pelletier, who go by the names Andrew and Beth Sparkfire. The third founder is Play, a sex educator and former personal trainer whom GQ lauded as “the world’s greatest sex hacker” in a 2017 article.

The trio set out not just to create another sex club, but an entire community where members felt liberated to indulge in their outside-the-mainstream sexual proclivities with other consenting adults away from prying, judgmental eyes.

What started as weekly cloak-and-dagger sex parties for in-the-know horndogs hosted at the couple’s Brooklyn townhome grew into a veritable real estate empire — the group snapping up at least three Bushwick brownstones about a decade ago, the Times writes.

The Hacienda townhomes became private enclaves where members could gather, party, and even live, with tenants paying between $750 and $1,500 per month to rent a room in one of the homes.

Another woman directly accused co-founder Play of publicly performing sex acts on her at a party without her consent almost a decade ago while she was “visibly intoxicated,” according to the outlet.

In a statement to the Times about this alleged incident, Hacienda leadership “acknowledged the encounter but said it was consensual.”

Play later told The Post that the “interaction” with the woman happened “in a space where there were multiple conscientious and attentive people from the community around us and watching the scene play out,” he said.

The swanky Brooklyn sex club’s properties include a hot tub and a sex dungeon. Angel Chevrestt
The swanky Brooklyn sex club’s properties include a hot tub and a sex dungeon. Angel Chevrestt

“Which is a large part of why my community has so fervently stuck behind me — due to the fact that there are multiple witnesses who can attest to no wrongdoing.”

Due to the allegations, however, organizers of at least three other NYC sex parties have reportedly banished Play from attending, which both he and his co-founders tell The Post is untrue.

Addressing the litany of complaints, Hacienda acknowledged to the Times that it fell short at times in the community’s early days, but said it had taken steps over the years to mitigate such incidents.

Some of these steps have included instituting mandatory orientations about consent for all guests and enlisting sex party “guardians” tasked with monitoring revelers’ behavior.

All things considered, the group’s leadership told The Post that they “do not doubt member safety” at Hacienda.

“While we always aim for zero instances of harm at our organization, the very nature of this kind of sexual expression does have some risk,” Pelletier told The Post.

“We have made it our mission to ensure that safety and security are of utmost importance, and the procedures set in place are strict and enforceable,” she added, noting that most of the allegations detailed in the Times story were from years in the past and that the group is “constantly improving” its procedures.

“However, we always want to support anyone who has come forward with a negative experience, and we always seek to make things right regardless of when the incident occurred.”