How an Ex-Chippendales Dancer Survived a Murder Plot Hatched by His Boss: 'I Slept With the Lights On'

Read Scot tells his harrowing story the first time in the discovery+ series, Curse of the Chippendales

Though he has remained silent for 30 years about surviving the infamous Chippendales murder plot, Read Scot is ready to tell his side of the story.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the former Chippendales dancer opens up for the first time about being the subject of a murder-for-hire plot hatched by his former boss. He also reveals the reason he kept quiet for nearly three decades — and why he's speaking out now.

In July 1991, Scot — who had just taken the mic at an all-male striptease dance production on a London stage — was stopped mid-sentence by his business partner, who frantically pulled him offstage. Scotland Yard officers were waiting with a chilling message: "There is a contract out for your life," Scot recalls a detective telling him. "It's going to be a cyanide injection…[Someone] will get close to you and inject you with a needle."

read scott
Courtesy Read Scott

Scot will tell his story for the first time on-screen in the discovery+ docuseries Curse of the Chippendales, which is currently streaming.

He says hearing the news from law enforcement was like being "pushed face-first into a wall."

"I got this cold chill as a detective told me, 'You can run and hide or you can stay and we catch [the killer] before he gets to you.' It's like something you hear in a movie. It didn't seem like real life," Scot says.

read scott
Courtesy Read Scott

A month before, Scot had left the Chippendales dance group. The plot against his life was part of a bigger scheme — one that included the 1987 murder of Chippendales producer Nick De Noia and a planned hit on two other former Chippendales employees: Michael Fullington, a dancer, and Steve White, a producer. All of it was orchestrated by the group's founder, Somen "Steve" Banerjee.

In the early 1980s, Scot had his first audition for Chippendales — a well-established, multi-million empire showcasing shirtless men wearing tight black pants, bow ties and wrist cuffs who danced out of their outfits for effusive fans.

Steve Schapiro/Corbis/Getty

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As he continued to move up in the company, he began working directly with Banerjee and De Noia, who "used to go toe to toe and just scream and curse at each other," he says.

Toward the end of the 1980s, De Noia and Banerjee eventually dissolved their partnership, and De Noia walked away with the rights to the Chippendales name for touring engagements.

candace mayeron and nick di noia
Nick De Noia and Candace Mayeron. Courtesy Candace Mayeron

On April 7, 1987, De Noia was found in his Manhattan office fatally shot in the face — and, according to former creative director Eric Gilbert, "Banerjee was the first person to come to mind" when it came to who might have been behind the killing.

Scot continued to work with Banerjee, but he took a bigger role in a rival all-male burlesque show called Adonis in 1991. One month later, Banerjee put hits out both Scot and White, who was then a producer for Adonis.

After learning about the plot, Scot remained quiet and kept up appearances, so that authorities could piece together the sinister scheme. All the while, he lived in constant fear.

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"For years, I looked over my shoulder, I slept with the lights on," says Scot.

Eventually Banerjee pleaded guilty to charges of arson, racketeering and murder-for-hire. He died by suicide in his jail cell Oct. 23, 1994 before being sentenced.

Now, Scot and his wife of 21 years, Carol, run Great Scot Entertainment, an event production company he launched in 2018. He has no plans to take the stage again.

Curse of the Chippendales is now streaming on discovery+.

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