Who Owns Da Hustlaball?
The Hustlaball is a big old dance event that for 10 years has summoned the hustler spirit to promote the joys of young entrepreneurialism. Well, now there's a big old hustler brawl going down between the team doing the October 12 Hustlaball in New York and Tom Weise, an ex employee who is doing an "unauthorized" one in Germany. It's getting very ugly, which means, of course, that it's getting very fun—sort of like a fight between a possessive pimp and his overanxious 'ho. So now that you've given me the hot pleasure of your company, let me reward you with a link to the latest email salvo in this war of words. I'll leave it on the night table.
Dear friend of the Hustlaball:
You may have recently received a vaguely threatening and intimidating email from Mr. Tom Weise regarding "marketplace confusion" relating to certain upcoming Hustlaball events. I apologize in advance for the tenor of this message; however recent events have compelled me to respond and shed some light on certain misstatements made in Mr. Weise's email.
Hustlaball was originally envisioned as a promotional party for rentboy.com. It was intended to celebrate marginalized/alternative lifestyles and was produced by HB Events, Inc., together with its affiliate, Easy Rent Systems, Inc., owner of the rentboy.com trademark. These events were promoted by rentboy.com as early as 1998; though in 2002, we formed HB Events Inc. to more fully protect our intellectual property and not surprisingly "HB" stands for "Hustlaball". Until recently, we were privileged to have Mr. Weise as a paid employee on our team.
Upon his heralded "retirement" from the adult industry in September 2007, Tom left our employ (for which most would remember that we threw him a party in NYC, at our expense) and moved to Germany. He and his associate Stephan (Sascha) Muller-Bardone (SMB Berlin) thereafter informed us that they intended to produce Hustlaball events in Europe notwithstanding our ownership of the mark that is utilized in connection with the production of the events. After giving it some thought, we were initially delighted and we even offered a simple plan to license the name to SMB so that Tom and Sascha could continue producing this incredible event. We even offered to have our affiliate, rentboy.com, sponsor the German event.
However after weeks of stonewalling, we learned that regrettably Tom and Sascha did not intend to honor their longstanding agreements in regard to the Berlin 2007 event, nor did they wish to reach any reasonable settlement. We were left with no choice but to undertake legal action to protect ourselves.
Needless to say, the claims that Tom makes in his email are utterly without merit and you have nothing to fear in terms of reprisals from him. Tom and Sascha have chosen the unfortunate path of proceeding in a divisive and destructive manner at the expense of the Hustlaball name to avoid the payment of what ultimately amounts to just a few thousand Euros. Doing the right thing would have paved the way to a strong positive cooperation between us, instead of this rancor.
Tom does state one truth in his email; Tom Weise didn't authorize our events. This is simply because he has no authority to do so. The Hustlaball mark is the rightful property of HB Events, Inc. despite Tom's attempts to treat the mark as his own. In an effort to clear up any "market confusion" alleged by Tom, we wish to be clear. HB Events, Inc. owns the Hustlaball mark and continues to produce various parties under its umbrella in Las Vegas, New York, London and various other cities.
The events produced by HB Events, Inc. have always had the full financial backing of HB Events, Inc. and our affiliate, rentboy.com; we have never failed to pay anyone any amounts agreed to be paid and we take our ethical and moral obligations incredibly seriously.
We are saddened by the lack of foresight and maturity exhibited in recent emails emanating from our former colleagues in Germany. We apologize on Tom's behalf for the compromising position into which he is trying to put you, for whatever it may be worth. We don't think you should be forced to "choose sides" over what boils down to a private financial disagreement. HB Events, Inc. remains dedicated to producing these parties and bringing industry people together, not trying to separate people apart into fractious, muckraking and uncooperative camps.
HB Events Inc., and all of our associates producing the events around the world will not attempt to intimidate or penalize anyone who participates in the German event, nor castigate them afterwards. We feel this is counterproductive for the industry and we just want people to have fun; after all these are parties we are talking about, no? We will leave it entirely up to you to decide if you want to be involved with Tom and Sascha in Germany. The German event does not have our backing in any way whatsoever, and we are not responsible for anything that occurs there.
We hope you will continue to support the legal, authorized and original Hustlaball parties, especially the one on 12th of October in New York City, and wherever we produce them in the future. We also hope you have a great Hustlaball, whether you choose to attend in New York or Berlin this October. For more information about the Hustlaball, please visit the official event website at http://www.hustlaball.com/.
Jeffrey Davids, as authorized
spokesperson for HB Events Inc.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.