Owner of Baltimore venue Dark Room accused of harassing nightlife operators

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  • Theo Parrish has since postponed his upcoming residency at the club, which was set to begin this weekend.
  • Owner of Baltimore venue Dark Room accused of harassing nightlife operators image
  • The owner of Baltimore club Dark Room, Ebrahim Hajipour (AKA Ebiz Kowli), has been accused of calling the authorities on independent promoters and venues over fake claims. On March 18th, local nightlife players posted a joint statement on social media detailing incidents of Hajipour's "targeted harassment" against promoters, most of whom are queer or people of colour. Audio clips from three police calls last year (one on April 16th and two on November 11th) were included with the statement. Resident Advisor has verified these calls via official documents from Baltimore police. Speaking to RA, ten people have identified the voice on the calls as Hajipour's. The April 16th call involved a party called Beatitude that took place at a warehouse. The caller, believed to be Hajipour, told police that his friend was potentially drugged: "I was kicked out, they’re not letting me in. She’s not feeling well. I think she was partaking in cocaine and maybe it was mixed." Sources in Baltimore nightlife's scene say Hajipour faked an accent but that his voice remains recognisable. Babypufff, organiser of Beatitude, said nobody was unwell that night. "Cops came in—they said somebody make a call about a cocaine overdose," she told RA. "There weren't even that many people in the warehouse so it was easy to see what was going on and it was just not true." Mark Humphreys, owner of the warehouse, has known Hajipour since 2011. The Dark Room owner had thrown about 20 parties in his space over the last year, according to Humphreys. "I did consider him a friend," he said. "But he betrayed me and he betrayed our friends. He didn't think of us in doing this." Humphreys was planning on selling the warehouse and shut down the space early due to police showing up at nearly every event. "[Hajipour]'s trying to eliminate his competition," Humphreys said. "As superficial as it is, I don't see anything else about it." He continued: "Believe it or not, I know that Ebrahim was wrong for doing what he did, very wrong. But I still wouldn't want to see him completely lose the business that he's worked for all those years. He really needs to apologise to the community. He was a friend and people can do wrong things out of desperation or bad decisions, but I would've tried to get him to try to correct his mistake and apologise to the community." On November 11th, two police calls were made from a party that took place at a different warehouse. Event organisers told RA they didn't want their party to be identified. In the first call, the caller said he left after seeing a gun at a fight. On the second call, the caller said his friend was "unconscious" and that he was kicked out for making a scene over it. The promoter, who asked to remain anonymous, dismissed those claims and said they had to de-escalate the situation when ten police officers showed up. These kind of hoax calls are "a direct threat to our growing and flourishing arts and music community," Tyler Saron, a dedicated partygoer in Baltimore, told RA. Saron sent a letter to city officials earlier this month, alerting them of Hajipour's alleged behaviour. Hajipour is also suspected to have filed two reports with city authorities using a promoter's name and a building owner's name. Both parties, who wish to remain anonymous, have disputed sending any reports. An email was also sent to the same building owner via a sock puppet account, with the sender stating that their 19-year-old daughter came home intoxicated from an event at the space. In light of these developments, Theo Parrish, who was set to begin a residency at Dark Room on March 30th, has announced those gigs will be postponed until further notice. A representative for Hajipour has denied all allegations, providing RA with the following statement: "First and foremost, Mr. Hajipour vehemently denies that he has done anything to harm other businesses or parties, regardless of who attends them. He considers himself a friend to all and has always strived to be inviting and understanding of all individuals. His reputation of collaboration with diverse artists and performers reflects this. The allegations in question came to our attention recently and we have been working toward how best to take action. The audio is fraudulent. The email allegedly from him is fraudulent. The allegations being levied against Mr. Hajipour are just that, allegations." Hajipour's representative said they are also working with "leaders in AI detection and spoofing software" to prove that he "did not make the [police] calls in question." Read the joint statement in full and listen to the calls. We'll have more on this story as it unfolds.
    Update April 3rd, 2024: This article was updated to include an additional quote from Mark Humphreys.