To boost morale Baum girls were frequently placated with promises of help with their modeling careers.
"I did tell the ones who were pretty enough that I'd get their pictures taken for free by photographers and
that we'd send them to agencies because SoHo Models wasn't open yet," says Sylk benevolently. Even
Ed Feldman played the game offering to get girls into various print and commercial castings. "Ed put me
on a casting list for a Sheer Energy Legs commercial," says Jennifer expectantly. "He knew the casting
director and called him. Dropping your picture somewhere doesn't hurt at all in the modeling industry."
Hoping to generate some press Sylk pitched his New York story as a Page Six item. Editors found the
fashion / porno angle too outlandish not to run. The humorous piece which portrays Jason Sylk as a sleazy
interloper attempting to infiltrate the fashion industry barely registered on the fashionista radar. Nobody
took the wacky piece seriously. But Bruce Glasser and Fred Baum were not amused. After being fired
4 times and having mobsters rough him up twice, Sylk's short but fulfilling career at Baum Multimedia
abruptly ended. The settlement he negotiated required him to relinquish all his Baum Multi Media shares.
This was hardly a significant concession considering that the business was as moribund as could be. In
fact, Brenda and Charlie had left, taking all of Baum Multimedia's girls and its least incompetent manager
to open a cookie-cutter operation on West 36th Street: right behind the local precinct. As compensation for
losing his 1/3 share of Baum Multimedia Sylk would retain ownership of the SoHo Models name, plus
$20,000 in cash, and $5,000 a month for the next six months. In essence -- a $50,000 buyout.

"Jason (Sylk) is terrible, " agrees Kerry. "He has a big problem with anger management. He has no control
of his emotions at all." In the evenings Sylk would bring male friends to Baum Multimedia to party. They
would invariably end up wandering around the space in an altered state ogling the women as if it were
just another night at VIP. Sometimes the ogling would get out of hand. "We had a rule that the men were
supposed to knock if they needed to come into the cubicles for any particular reason," says Tanya. "But
people were always opening the door and walking in on you." In one instance, a pimp showed up
hoping to recruit women.
In another, a friend of Sylk's -- identifying himself only as a chiropractor,
began soliciting the girls for sex. Fred Baum insists that Baum Multimedia is a desirable place to work. "I
have a number of girls who love this job and say it's the best job they've ever had," he says with a straight
face. "Because they really don't have to do anything. They just sit down and chit chat and then for twenty
or thirty minutes they get to play with themselves and make money." Taking the opposite tack, Sylk says
Baum Multimedia has nothing at all to do with sex. "It's not a sex business," he says authoritatively. "It's
a relationship business. You've got lonely people calling and they end up making friends with the girls.
They're not talking about sex. Sex would be a five-minute call. And they don't call back. My girls were
trained to say, 'You're such a nice guy. Why don't you have a girlfiriend ?' Shit like that."
The fantasy became firmly entrenched in the collective mindset of the Baum workforce when a 27-year
old former runway model named Veronica (Hot Legs) struck up an on-relationship with a wealthy London
businessman. She sold her panties to him for $500 apiece. He swooned. The white knight eventually
rescued Veronica from her dingy cyber-cell, gave her a $30,000 pair of diamond earrings, and took her
back with him to London. Besides being taken advantage of financially, the girls working the booths at
Baum were also sexually harassed, verbally abused and put on display, like animals in a petting zoo. "Sylk
made us all feel like we were sluts," says Jennifer. "He'd put the girls down, and scream, and yell at them.
One girl asked if there was a water fountain and he yelled back, 'Go stick your head in the toilet bowl.'
You tell me what kind of working environment that is." Another thorn in the girls' side was a shift manager
also named Jason that came from Woodstock. He would tell girls they "had to" stick a 5 inch stiletto
heel up their backside if a client told them too. Other shift mangers said, "that went a little too far."
ToTaLLy CoOL
written by Rene Chun
Model

"The

Sweat
Shop"

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The Sweat Shop -- Baum Multimedia ... a/k/a Soho Model Management
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