Middle East addresses sexual assault allegations; co-owner Joseph Sater retires
 

Update: This headline has been revised to reflect the statement from The Middle East.

UPDATE 7:54 p.m. EST: The Middle East has posted the following statement from ownership on social media, clarifying that co-owner and manager Joseph Sater has “decided to retire” from the Cambridge venue.

“Admittedly, it’s been challenging to find an appropriate way to respond to unsubstantiated third-party claims on social media. We can say, unequivocally, that the allegations being spread online are absolutely not true and that just being publicly accused is absolutely devastating. After 44 years, Joseph Sater has decided to retire from managing the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub.

Understand that we care deeply about our employees; they are like family to us. Over the past 4-plus decades, we have worked hard to create a warm, respectful, safe — and, as a music venue– fun work environment. We always strive to do better and we sincerely apologize if any current or former employees have not had a positive experience or have felt unsafe.

We have worked with countless artists over the years. We respect those who have recently chosen to move their performance to another venue and we would welcome them back at any time. For the many who have continued to play the Middle East, we are appreciative of their support. We have assured them that our nightclub is a safe environment where management and staff work to support them and create an amazing experience for their fans.”

Our original article is below.

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The Middle East has broken its silence regarding rumors of a sexual assault allegedly committed by its long-time co-owner and manager, Joseph Sater.

Sater has reportedly “stepped down” from his position at the Cambridge venue, one he has held for 44 years, according to a report today (August 28) from WBZ News Radio. But the venue has denied any wrongdoing.

WBZ published a statement from The Middle East, which reads, in part: “We can say, unequivocally, that the allegations being spread online are absolutely not true and that just being publicly accused is absolutely devastating. We have worked hard to create a warm, respectful, safe — and, as a music venue — fun work environment. We always strive to do better and we sincerely apologize if any current or former employees have not had a positive experience or have felt unsafe.”

In recent months, as rumors have swirled about the alleged sexual assault, many bands and artists have cancelled or relocated their shows from the Central Square performance complex, which includes ZuZu on Massachusetts Avenue and Sonia, a new venue on Brookline Street in the space that formerly housed T.T. The Bear’s Place.

The statement continues: “We respect those who have recently chosen to move their performance to another venue and we would welcome them back at any time… For the many who have continued to play the Middle East, we are appreciative of their support. We have assured them that our nightclub is a safe environment where management and staff work to support them and create an amazing experience for their fans.”

WBZ also reports that Cambridge police say a formal complaint in regards to the rumored assault has never been filed, and police are not currently investigating the situation. On August 18, former booking agent Alex Pickert posted a lengthy statement to Facebook detailing the situation at the venue and shed light on what has, and hasn’t, transpired after the accusation was made.

The Middle East’s statement has not yet appeared on its homepage or any of its social media platforms. UPDATE: See above.

Featured image via Ticketfly.

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