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The true story behind ‘Welcome to Chippendales,’ explained

Know the true story of Chippendales before watching the new Disney Plus/Hulu series.

Image via Disney Plus

Disney Plus and Hulu have released their new true-crime series titled Welcome to Chippendales, starring Kumail Nanjiani (Obi-Wan Kenobi) as Somen Banerjee, the founder of Chippendales. The new drama mini-series will showcase the life of Banerjee and his rise and fall from success after he created his strip club and the crimes that led to his eventual arrest.

Like most crime-drama series, this show is also based on true events. But what makes this show different from Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and other popular true crime dramas is that this isn’t about a murderer or serial killer. This one is about a man who created a popular business that still exists to this day, and the crimes that occurred behind the scenes.

The true story behind ‘Welcome to Chippendales,’ explained

Welcome to Chippendales is based on the famous million-dollar strip club called Chippendales. The business was founded by Indian entrepreneur and American migrant, Somen Banerjee (aka Steve). Banerjee purchased a failed Los Angeles bar called Destiny II in 1979 and renamed it ‘Chippendales’. What made his business a success was that he hosted exotic dance nights for women, which became very popular. The club managed to spread across the U.S. with clubs opening in other states such as New York and Colorado. The club also provided tours across the United States and Europe.

As the company became popular, Banerjee feared potential competition and decided to deal with them. The entrepreneur targeted former Chippendales employees and his business partner, Nick De Noia, through the help of a hitman. Before De Noia’s death, he and Banerjee didn’t see eye to eye about the company’s future and ended their partnership in 1980. The deal was struck on the back of the napkin, which granted De Noia the rights and half the profits for the Chippendales touring show.

Eventually, Banerjee was arrested and pleaded guilty to murder, arson, and racketeering in 1994. He was sentenced to 26 years of prison but was reported to be found dead in his cell due to suicide.

Despite its bloody past, Chippendales still exists to this day. The tour group performs shows outside of the U.S. and in 2020, they released workout videos to entertain people during the lockdowns. Chippendales is now known for its male dancers and burlesque-like shows. But with every success story comes a dark and deadly underbelly behind the scenes.

Welcome to Chippendales is now available to stream on Disney Plus and Hulu.

About the author

Erielle Sudario

Erielle Sudario is a Digital Producer for We Got This Covered. Outside of work, she's either DM'ing a 'Dungeons and Dragons' campaign, playing video games, or building keyboards. Erielle holds a Bachelor of Communications Degree (specializing in film and journalism) from Western Sydney University and a Graduate Diploma in Radio and Podcasting from the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School.