This post has been updated.
Washington entertainment giant Seth Hurwitz was arrested and charged in Montgomery County on Wednesday with soliciting prostitution from a massage therapist.
A licensed massage and physical therapist said Hurwitz, owner of the iconic 9:30 Club and chairman of an entertainment company involved in the operation of several popular Washington-area concert venues, made inappropriate sexual comments and motions at her place of employment.
“The facts will come out in due course,” read part of a statement from Hurwitz’s attorney, provided to The Washington Post by a spokeswoman for I.M.P., the entertainment company. “In the meantime, we ask that you give consideration to Seth and his family. Seth is presumed innocent under our laws.”
According to Montgomery County police, Hurwitz, 60, of Bethesda, contacted the woman’s business on Aug. 15 and went in for an appointment that afternoon. During the massage of his lower body, according to police, he told her that “if you would be willing to go a little higher, your tip would improve.” Police said Hurwitz told the woman that he enjoyed having his genitals massaged, “but only if you are comfortable,” restating this caveat several times.
Police said Hurwitz asked her whether she made house calls. While on his stomach, police said the woman reported that Hurwitz seemed to be “grinding on the table” in a sexual manner.
The therapist also told detectives that Hurwitz left a large wad of cash out on the floor as if on display, according to court records. She said she ended the massage early because of Hurwitz’s increasingly sexual behavior. When Hurwitz again asked whether she would consider massaging him at his home, the therapist said she declined.
Police said that after the appointment Hurwitz texted and phoned the woman several times, further inquiring if she would come to his home.
Police detectives were present with the woman for a text conversation and phone call with Hurwitz a day after the initial encounter. Later, police said, Hurwitz texted the woman telling her that he could come to her office the following Wednesday. She asked him whether he wanted just a massage, or whether he wanted oral sex, too. “Let’s start w massage and see how it goes,” police said Hurwitz replied. He offered to pay $500 for “60 min massage everything.”
On Wednesday, detectives set up surveillance outside the woman’s business and arrested Hurwitz when he arrived for the appointment. Detectives said Hurwitz came with 10 $100 bills in his left pocket.
Hurwitz is the chairman of the I.M.P., an independent concert promotion and production company that has operating agreements with the Merriweather Post Pavilion and Lincoln Theatre and owns the Anthem and the 9:30 Club. As of 2017, the company had presented more than 15,000 events since 1980. Earlier this year, I.M.P. agreed to host the Woodstock 50th anniversary show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, but the show was canceled after several acts pulled out of the event.
The I.M.P. spokeswoman forwarded The Washington Post a note from Hurwitz shared with his employees. “Obviously the recent events have caused a great deal of embarrassment to everybody,” Hurwitz wrote in part. “This is not a matter that concerns our business and please soldier on as usual, doing the great jobs that have made us who we are.”
A few days later, Hurwitz emailed his staff to say he was “stepping aside for the time being until the matter is resolved” to “eliminate distraction,” according to Billboard. He announced in the message, sent on Aug. 24, that Donna Westmoreland, the chief operating officer, would take the lead in his absence.
During the Aug. 16 phone call, Hurwitz had alluded to other women, including a “girl” who “would do things” at his D.C. apartment, according to police. “And afterward she would seem to get scared and shut down from him,” according to police, “and he would have to restart the process with her each time getting her back to a level she was comfortable with.”
Hurwitz was released Wednesday on $5,000 bond.