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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 24, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, the chippendale's murder. the popular club for women only. the famed all-male revue known for its glamorous guest lists. but off stage? >> it was booze, sex, drugs, rock and roll. >> how one man's greed led to murder. >> he said, you know, i can't trust denoya. i think he's cheating me. i want him killed. >> where did it all go so wrong? plus -- ♪ pour some sugar on me ♪ the different beat of def leppard's rick allen. from classic hits like "pour some sugar on me" -- >> so i can actually go here instead of having to reach all the way over here.
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>> to what he's doing now to help others. and remembering joan didion and her novels. that changed how we write and read forever. >> announcer: "nightline" will be right back. [upbeat acoustic music throughout] hey, angie! you forgot your phone!
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hey lou! angie forget her phone again? yep. lou! mom said she could save up to $400 on her wireless bill by switching to xfinity internet and mobile. with nationwide 5g at no extra cost. and lou! on the most reliable network, lou! smart kid, bill... [laughs] so true. and now, the moon christmas special... gotta go! get a great offer on xfinity internet, and you'll get 12 times the speed for the same price when you add xfinity mobile. switch today. sing 2. nespresso vertuo. redifining coffee. with one touch. precision brewing technology. a smooth crema. for an exceptional coffee every day. nespresso vertuo. what coffee is meant to be. thanks for joining us. we begin with breaking news in the fatal shooting of daunte wright in brooklyn center,
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minnesota. a jury today found former police officer kim potter guilty of two counts of manslaughter. potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, claims she mistook her gun for her taser when she fired at wright in april at a traffic stop. and moments after the verdict -- [ cheers ] scenes of celebration outside the courthouse. wright's family also weighing in on the guilty charges. >> every single emotion that you could imagine just running through your body at that moment. i kind of let out a yelp. we want to thank community support. everybody who's been out there who has supported us in this long fight for accountability. >> potter faces sentencing in february. we turn now to a story of greed, money and murder. playing behind the scenes of chippendale's. for decades the destination of choice for bachelorette parties and girls' nights out. but the brand's backstory is one of deceit and intrigue.
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>> to describe chippendales back then, it was booze, sex, drugs, rock and roll. >> the scintillating show for ladies only will sell out. >> reporter: it was one of the sexiest venues in history, where men took it all off. >> they stripped down to g strings. women would wave dollar bills. >> take it off! >> reporter: and women take it all in. >> this is chippendales where we men perform exclusively for women on the dance floor. >> we love it. it's great. we're having a great time. >> it was the first time ever where something was completely geared to the ladies. >> reporter: as women flocked to the clubs -- >> from the outside we were a hugely successful multimillion-dollar business. but the bigger we got the more the problems piled up. >> reporter: little did they know that behind the scenes there was greed. >> everything about banerjee was about making money. >> reporter: jealousy and murder. >> a man has been shot in the head in my office. >> reporter: now the real story of what happened off stage is
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the subject of a new series from discovery plus. >> behind it all is one megalomane yak who's eliminating the competition through arson and murder for hire. >> reporter: curse of the chippendales. the documentary features former chippendales performer read scott, once the target of a murder for hire, telling his story for the first time. >> what i went through you'll never believe. >> reporter: it all began in 1979, when the very first chippendales opened on the west side of l.a. >> the owner, steve banerjee, decided he was going to have some male striptease. ♪ oh what a night ♪ >> reporter: it was an overnight success for steve banerjee, an immigrant from mumbai, india. >> so when you came to america, you wound up working as a service station attendant? >> yes. i know nothing about cars. i never had my hands dirty before. >> the popularity i think was
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the first time that the equality door was kicked open for women to get the same kind of entertainment options that men have had for years. they could be rowdy, rude, vulgar even like men. >> i think it's a great place for role reversal. >> the men are allowed to go wherever they want. why can't ladies? >> reporter: steve wanted to expand the show to new york, but he'd need help. that's when a former television producer walked through his door. >> one day i get to chippendales, i knock on the door to steve's office and there's someone else in the room. and steve says richard, this is nick denoia. he's a producer, choreographer, he's won some awards, he's going to be producing the show. >> let's figure out what the women want and let's give it to them. >> he wanted the production value, the lighting, the sets, the choreography and the casting. he wanted all of this to be broadway caliber. >> the partnership between steve and nick became fruitful and
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that's how the clubs took off and they eventually opened up a club in new york. >> reporter: but with the expansion came trouble. denoia and banerjee argued over the production and casting. >> they saw things differently. nick came from what's best for the production. steve came from what pretty boy's going to sell more calendars? i don't care if he can't dance. >> reporter: in the discovery series read scot recalls a time when banerjee thought he wasn't attractive enough for the role. >> one time steve banerjee made it very clear, he pretty much let me know you are a very good performer, read, but you're not a looker. >> reporter: banerjee and denoia even clashed over who was covered more in the press. so banerjee decides to strike a deal with denoia. >> he said look, i want you out. i want the business. you can take the road show. you can keep the door. that's yours. this is mine. >> he gave denoia the rights to tour chippendales. taking chippendales on the road eventually turned out to be the
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most lucrative part of the business. >> and he didn't realize that until it was too late. >> reporter: the touring version of chippendales becomes a success, playing to crowds of of over 2,000 women at arenas and selling out seats 100% of the time. and with nick on top once again steve was driven mad. >> he said, i can't trust denoia, i think he's cheating me with all these tours that he's running. i want him killed. >> reporter: banerjee contacts a man by the name of ray colon for help in carrying out the attack. colon hires a second man by the name of gilberto rivera. together the two traveled to the chippendales office in new york to carry out the murder. >> he walks into denoia's office and rivera shoots him once in the face. rivera exits the offices. the assistant goes into the offices, sees denoia lying dead on the floor, calls 911. >> a man has been shot in the head in my office. >> okay. is he conscious? >> no. oh, my god. >> i was in rehearsal at
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chippendales and somebody just said, you know, did you hear? nick denoia's been murdered. and you kind of went is, nick denoia's been murdered? really? >> it's very difficult to even say how i handled it it. nothing in life prepares you to handle news like that. and you know, it's still -- i mean, it's 34 years, but it still is acute. >> reporter: colon and rivera evade police, and with nothing linking banerjee to the crime it was business as usual at chippendales. >> then the next thing you hear is banerjee buys the road rights back from the denoia family for a million point three. now you're kind of going that's a little odd. >> reporter: meanwhile, knock-off clubs start popping up. one of them actually started by some former chippendales dancers called adonis. and they recruited read scot as their emcee. >> they were directly now competing with chippendales. so what would you expect banerjee to do when he has a
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competition? he wanted these people killed. >> reporter: in july 1991 read is in england emceeing for an adonis show when he gets called off the stage, mid-performance. >> there are two gentlemen in suits. and they introduce themselves as fbi. they said, we believe someone is out to get you. we have intercepted a call that there's been a contract put on your life. >> reporter: steve banerjee had gone back to ray colon. this time colon hires a friend by the name of strawberry to take that hit on the adonis employees. >> he gave him an eyedropper bottle full of cyanide. and he told him this is what you do. you follow him into the men's room. you hit him on the head with a hammer and then you injekd hct with the cyanide. so this person strawberry took all this, flew over there, got cold feet, and he comes back to the united states and he goes into our office and that's how we get involved.
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>> reporter: after hearing strawberry's story authorities arrest ray colon and question him. >> colon was down here. he had drew this on a piece of paper that hey, i'm down here. the person you really want is up here. >> reporter: that person, steve banerjee. so the fbi devises a plan to use colon to get to banerjee. >> we're going to construct a ruse where we're going to take colon out of the country, make believe that he has become a fugitive. once he gets overseas, he'll call banerjee. >> reporter: the two eventually meet up in switzerland, where colon finally gets banerjee to talk freely. banerjee had no idea the conversation was being secretly recorded by the fbi. >> we hear banerjee confess to his complicity in hiring ray colon for the murder of denoia. they talk about the attempted murders of read scot and other dancers and we were able to get the evidence that we needed against banerjee. >> reporter: in september 1993 banerjee is arrested in a deal with prosecutors he pleads
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guilty to racketeering, which included arranging denoia's murder. but the day before his sentencing something shocking happens. >> we were on the courthouse steps when somebody came out and said there will be no sentencing, banerjee committed suicide last night. i felt robbed of the satisfaction of seeing steve brought in in chains and brought to justice for what he had done. >> he didn't get the punishment he deserved. he didn't serve the time for nick denoia, for destroying lives, for trying to kill people. he got out easy. he was a coward. >> reporter: despite the shadow cast by his dark chapter, the legacy of of chippendales prevails. >> there was a lot more history there. ten years of history. ten years of success. >> oh, i think the success of chippendales triumphs no matter what. with the patina of success that chippendales has i think is pretty unblemished.
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>> "curse of the chippendales" is streaming now on discovery plus. coming up, singing mass hysteria with def leppard's drummer rick allen. years after his accident how he's now helping others. ♪ at hiv. it's once-monthly injectable cabenuva. cabenuva is the only once-a-month, complete hiv treatment for adults who are undetectable. cabenuva helps keep me undetectable. it's two injections, given by a healthcare provider once a month. hiv pills aren't on my mind. i love being able to pick up and go. don't receive cabenuva if you're allergic to its ingredients or taking certain medicines, which may interact with cabenuva. serious side effects include allergic reactions post-injection reactions, liver problems,...and depression. if you have a rash and other allergic reaction symptoms,
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stop cabenuva and get medical help right away. tell your doctor if you have liver problems or mental health concerns, and if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering pregnancy. some of the most common side effects include injection site reactions, fever, and tiredness. if you switch to cabenuva, attend all treatment appointments. with once-a-month cabenuva, i'm good to go. ask your doctor about once-monthly cabenuva. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list event. ♪ when you have nausea, ♪ ♪ heartburn, ingestion, upset stomach... ♪sanctuary
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♪ ♪ tequila herradura. extraordinary awaits. rick allen's life changed forever in a car accident when he was a very young man. here's abc's phil lipoff with another look at how the def
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leppard drummer is giving back to a different beat. ♪ ♪ living like a lover ♪ >> reporter: for more than 40 years rick allen has been the drummer of one of the best-selling rock bands of all time. with mega hits like "pour some sugar on me." ♪ pour some sugar on me ♪ ♪ in the name of love ♪ def leppard has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. all the money and fame that comes with it. and still, those who know rick best will tell you that's not what's most impressive about him. and to really understand that we need to go back to the '80s. rick joined def leppard when he was just 15. by the time he was 21 the band was a huge success. and then -- >> you buy a corvette. >> ah. yeah. >> reporter: december 31st, 1984. an afternoon drive in that corvette would change the course of rick's life. the crash happened fast. it was a violent rollover. >> as the car rolled, the seat
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belt came undone and the seat belt took my arm as i was flying out through the car. >> reporter: his right shoulder broken, his left arm gone. this picture was taken of rick the first day out of the hospital. it would be the first day of the rest of his life. relearning how to do everything, from water-skiing and shooting pool to playing the drums with just one arm. ♪ the band stood by rick, and when he was strong enough def leppard went on recording and touring, releasing "hysteria." ♪ magical ♪ ♪ the band's most successful album to date. >> so this is where it all happens. >> reporter: today with the pandemic putting the band on pause we visited rick and his wife lauren at their california home. rick shows us his drum kit and how the technology allows him to sound like he did before the crash. >> the foot pedals sort of mimic what your left arm would do. >> absolutely what it does. let's say i'm playing --
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♪ so i can actually go here instead of having to reach all the way over here. playing, rick says, is almost a meditative experience. he's happy on the drums. and on this day happy to share with others the peace that music brings him. ♪ >> i told you he's a real player. >> reporter: lauren is a singer, songwriter, and a teacher. rick says she's been helping him heal physically and emotionally since the day they met 20 years ago. together they run the non-profit raven drum foundation. >> we collaborate with different non-profits to be able to facilitate healing through programs and fund-raising and concerts. >> reporter: a focus on veterans with head trauma and ptsd, both rick still grapples with. >> when i met rick, he didn't know he had ptsd. and that was something he was
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really struggling with. you know, it's something that we work on all the time. to help build his resiliency. >> ladies and gentlemen, it's my privilege to welcome to induct into the hall of fame, def leppard! >> reporter: and in 2019 when def leppard was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame, lead singer joe elliott paid tribute to rick's resilience. >> rick has a life-changing accident. he survived it and came out the other side stronger. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: a minute-long standing ovation by rock royalty. lauren in the crowd. both overwhelmed by emotion. if you could go back into that hospital room and tell the 21-year-old version of yourself one thing that would help him get through the rest of the hospital stay, what would it be? >> yeah. >> reporter: you're all right. you're in your house.
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>> whew. >> reporter: sorry. >> can we -- >> reporter: all these years later rick is still healing, still working through the pain and emotion of that crash and all that followed. if you were given the chance to go back and not have that happen, would you? >> that's a really good question. in many ways i think it enabled me to grow in so many ways. it became a blessing. a responsibility. a responsibility to other people. to myself. and i think that has become a huge gift. >> our thanks to phil. up next, honoring joan didion, a literary genius. it's amazing... he's talking about motorcycle insurance, and people love it. of course, they love the savings
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and finally tonight, what keeps so many coming back to the wors of joan didion. renowned writer joan didion's career took off in the '60s with
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biting social commentary that explored post-war american life from the hippie generation to politics. her essay collection "the white album" was considered required reading. >> my first notebooks with a big five tablet given to me by my mother with the sensible suggestion that i stop whining and learn to amuse myself by writing down my thoughts. >> reporter: didion, seen here in the netflix documentary "the center will not hold," co-wrote along with her husband, author john gregory dunn, the 1976 movie "a star is born." ♪ i believe there's a best of both worlds ♪ but didion's own story of love and loss was her most acclaimed. she sat down with "nightline" in 2005. >> the first lines of the book have been quoted over and over again. >> life changes fast. life changes in the instant. you sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. >> reporter: the year of magical thinking chronicles didion's life after her husband died suddenly while eating dinner. in 2013 she was awarded a
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national medal of arts in humanities by president obama. joan didion died of complications from parkinson's disease. she was 87. >> a true pioneer. that's "nightline" for tonight. you can watch all of our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for staying up with us. good night, america. i'm morgan, and there's more to me than hiv. more love, more adventure, more community. but with my hiv treatment, there's not more medicines in my pill. i talked to my doctor and switched to fewer medicines with dovato. dovato is for some adults who are starting hiv-1 treatment or replacing their current hiv-1 regimen. with just 2 medicines in 1 pill, dovato is as effective as a 3-drug regimen... to help you reach and stay undetectable.

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