The New York Police Department is currently investigating magician David Blaine over reported claims of sexual assault made against him. As it was reported early this week, the department's Special Victim Unit (SVU) has received statements from women who claim they were assaulted by the performer, with one accusation going back as far as 1998. Details are limited at this time, but here's what we know.
The information was revealed during a recent press conference on Monday, as it was reported by The Daily Beast. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea claimed there is an "active investigation" over sexual assault claims made by at least two women against David Blaine. According to an unnamed senior NYPD official who is reportedly in the know about the ongoing investigation inside the SVU, one of these claims might fall outside of the statue of limitations since the reported incident occurred more than 20 years earlier. As one of the victims reportedly claimed, she was allegedly sexually assaulted in David Blaine's Manhattan apartment in 1998.
When asked about these sexual assault allegations, David Blaine reportedly claimed to have no comment to give to the press. Though the performer reportedly claimed that the police have not approached him at this time. Additionally, when asked if the NYPD were planning to interview David Blaine or reach out to him about this ongoing investigation, Dermot Shea responded with "no comment."
Here is a statement from NYPD's Chief Spokesperson Phil Walzak:
Additional details about this investigation are currently left undisclosed with the public at this time. Given the sensitive nature of this allegations, it's likely that more information regarding this NYPD investigation will not be released at this time.
Additionally, as it was noted by CNN, this is not the first investigation made against David Blaine. A similar one was made the year prior. It has since been closed.
David Blaine is a performer of much acclaim and controversy. He first rose into prominence in 1999. His famous stunt at the time was being buried in a plexiglass coffin, wherein he stayed underground beneath a three-ton water-filled tank for seven days without food or water. He has since gained more notice and notoriety for similarly daring and dangerous stunts, including encasing himself in a six-ton block of ice in Times Square for 58 hours and being suspended in a glass box in London for 44 days. These are only a handful of his most famous performances.
David Blaine is planning a tour that is set to begin in June. He will be traveling to the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is unclear if these sexual assault allegations or this pending investigation will be delaying or cancelling the magician's tour dates.
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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