Criss Angel’s Verbal Volley: Hear the Tape

Inside Magic Image of Criss AngelIllusionist Criss Angel and magician Joe Safuto (a/k/a Joe Monte) are no longer working together. That is about all we know for sure. The dust was flying and has yet to settle.

The two sparred verbally (and according to Safuto, physically) this past Wednesday at Angel's business offices on Sunset Road in Las Vegas. The star of the Cirque du Soleil's Believe at the Luxor and Mindfreak on A&E and his former employee can be heard exchanging threats and demands in a 55 second clip from an apparently longer audio tape. You can hear the audio tape in the Inside Magic Library by clicking here.

Safuto spoke to The Las Vegas Review Journal after meeting with police. He said he has known Angel since the mid-1980s and worked to produce magic for the illusionist. According to "Safuto, "I created 50 to 60 percent of the magic for Mindfreak."

Safuto told the paper he made the tape to document Angel's tendency to bully employees, "I wanted him to know how demeaning he was."

Angel denied there was a physical altercation and attributes the expletive-filled shouts on Safuto – the one with the tape recorder. Robin Leach notes that Angel "can be heard at the start of the tape speaking in a normal voice before an argument begins."

Angel's attorney, Ken Woloson told Leach, "Criss Angel was in the process of firing Joe on Wednesday when [Monte] became abusive, and Criss asked him to leave."

According to the Review-Journal, Monte filed a report with the Las Vegas Police claiming Angel "flipped out" and assaulted him while removing him from Angel's office complex at 3260 W. Sunset Road.

On the audio clip apparently released by Safuto, Angel is heard saying, "Don't point your finger at me. Put your hand down."

There is a sound of commotion and then a voice, apparently Monte's, shouts, "Get off me. Don't you dare touch me!"

Monte claims Angel "grabbed me and lifted me." The Review-Journal observes Monte is 5'5" tall. Web sources place Angel's height at somewhere between 5'6" and 6'0".

Angel's attorney provided full statement to Perez Hilton and to Robin Leach:

Criss Angel was in the process of firing Joe Safuto on Wednesday when Safuto became abusive and Criss asked him to leave. Criss decided to fire Safuto in response to repeated complaints from co-workers and other magicians about Safuto's abusive and violent behavior and general ineptitude. Witnesses have attested that there was no physical contact and that Safuto very clearly was the antagonist. The audio released to the media is a snippet of a much longer conversation. We are exploring legal action against Mr. Safuto, including for his defamatory and illegal conduct.

Of course the good news is that as far as we can tell, no one was physically injured in the dispute. We hope things calm down and both parties can move on towards more positive endeavors and expressions of their emotions. Or not.

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