February 14, 2019

Massage Envy Silencing Assault Victims?

Massage Envy Named to Dirty Dozen List of Top Contributors to Sexual Exploitation in U.S.

Criticized for Allegedly Mishandling Hundreds of Sexual Harassment and Assault Cases by Massage Envy Therapists

Washington, DC – Another male masseuse was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting clients at a Massage Envy, on February 11th. This arrest occurred on the same day that Massage Envy was placed on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation in America due to years of allegedly mishandling sexual harassment and assault cases—more than 400 of which have come to light in the last two years.

Customers need to know that Massage Envy has egregious policies that seem to protect corporate interests above customer safety in cases of sexual harassment and assault,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Massage Envy has been, and is being, sued by hundreds of women for failing to take appropriate measures when a massage therapist sexually harasses or assaults a client. Despite making some superficial improvements, Massage Envy has failed to change essential policies that could promote safety and transparency.”

“Among a number of poor policies, the company has hidden clauses in customer agreements which force women to surrender their rights and many former employees report being trained to do all in their power not to encourage police to show up at their locations,” Hawkins continued. “Massage Envy does not even require reporting of suspected assaults to the Massage Therapy Board, which is alarming considering the fact that a number of cases against Massage Envy involve repeat perpetrators who were reported to management for sexual assault by prior customers.”

 

Massage Envy has made the following statement:

“Massage Envy is committed to promoting a safe environment for members, guests and service providers at each of our 1,200 franchise locations nationwide. We urge anyone (who) experiences anything other than a safe, quality massage to report it immediately to the franchise location so that it can be investigated.”

NCOSE Replies:

“Is Massage Envy seriously asking its clients to just ‘trust them’ to initiate an investigation? The track record of Massage Envy allegedly silencing women with waivers, and barring them from the courts, makes it clear that Massage Envy has not done enough to earn our trust,” Dawn Hawkins concluded.

 

PDFs of Multiple Lawsuits Against Massage Envy Are Available Here.

Livestreamed Video Which Includes Testimony by Massage Envy Sexual Assault Survivor Available Here.

 

Massage Envy Policy Forcing Customers to Waive Rights:

According to the Massage Envy Membership Terms and Conditions, Massage Envy forces its customers to waive any right to bring forward claims against the company, even in cases of unlawful conduct.

[Found January 24, 2019] At No Time Shall You Have A Right To, Nor Shall You, Assert Or Bring Any Claim, Demand, Or Legal Action Against Mef Or Any Of Its Affiliates … Neither Mef Nor Any Of Its Affiliates Shall Have Any Liability For … (Iii) Any Claim Based Upon Any Alleged Unlawful Act Or Omission By The Franchisee Or Any Independently Owned And Operated Massage Envy® Location.

By comparison, Somatic Massage company includes an allowance for bringing forward claims due to “gross negligence or willful misconduct” of “its owner or employees/contractors.”

NCOSE is Asking Massage Envy to Commit to:

  • Placing signs in each Massage Envy informing customers of their right to stop a massage at any point they feel uncomfortable, and their right to make a police report if they feel a masseuse has committed sexual misconduct or sexually harassed or assaulted them,
  • Publicly committing, and instituting strict internal policies, to report any case of customer discomfort with a masseuse regarding sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault, to the Massage Therapy Board,
  • Create an annual public transparency report in tandem with multiple advocacy organizations, similar to the one being created by Uber, which acknowledges the scope of the problem of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault in each Massage Envy—and make this report available on the Massage Envy app, and in emails to new clients,
  • Publicly committing to stop forcing customers to wave their right to bring forward claims against Massage Envy, even when those claims are based on intentional or negligent wrongdoing on the part of Massage Envy employees.

Learn more at: https://endsexualexploitation.org/massageenvy/

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

Further Reading