Nir Zilberman is gone. For real.
Zilberman, the clothing retailer who made a reputation for himself for his advocacy for the homeless and his sometimes histrionic behavior at West Hollywood City Council meetings, confirmed to WEHOville that he moved last week to Tel Aviv. A neighbor of Zilberman’s also confirmed he had left his house on Havenhurst Drive, abandoning in his backyard some home furnishings and a large amount of bathing suits and other clothing sold in his now-closed ES Collection shop at 8915 Santa Monica Blvd. (which have all been removed).
Zilberman had said many times over the past year that he was leaving West Hollywood, disappointed that the city wasn’t, in his opinion, dealing with issues such as homelessness that he advocated for. In a text conversation, Zilberman said he arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the day that Shimon Peres, Israel’s former president and prime minister, died. He acknowledged that he had created a reputation for himself in WeHo but was uncharacteristically modest about that.
“I will be forgotten, but it’s not about me,” Zilberman texted. “It’s about those people, young and not, rich or not, sick or not, those amazing men and women that need our voice. Those people that I call my true friends, those who live in amazing homes, to those who live on our streets.”
Zilberman moved to the United States from Tel Aviv in 1981 at the age of 21 and worked as a hairstylist for 20 years, opening four salons over the years and working with Aveda Spas.
In a 2014 interview with AU Magazine, Zilberman said he eventually decided to open a “male Victoria’s Secret.” He opened three menswear shops on Santa Monica Boulevard in WeHo — LA Jock Seduction, LA Jock Athletic, ES Collection — all with a focus on underwear and swimwear.
“I want people to know that fetish wear can be amazing if made with quality fabric,” he said in his interview with AU.
Zilberman also created his own Seduction brand and opened Mantrends Agency, which represented prominent international brands such as Addicted, ES Collection, James Tudor, and Freedom Reigns in the United States.
While Zilberman’s homelessness campaign got the most recent attention, in 2014 he also created a controversy by putting a mannequin dressed as a Nazi concentration camp prisoner in the window of his store on 8915 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood’s Boystown.
The mannequin wore a concentration camp uniform decorated with both a Star of David and a pink triangle, a badge that Nazis used to identify gay concentration camp prisoners.
Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, a Jewish Reform synagogue that welcomes LGBT people, said the display shocked her. “It’s quite a shocking display, and I’m sorry that the [owner] doesn’t understand the sensitivities of the Holocaust survivors that live in West Hollywood. It’s taking the Holocaust and the memory of those who perished and commercializing it, which is truly an affront.”
Zilberman said he put the mannequin up to raise awareness about anti-LGBT laws in Russia.
Zilberman later launched “Love No Hate,” which he described as the country’s first privately owned LGBT center, in part of the store he leased at 7990 Santa Monica Blvd. Soon he took on homelessness as an issue and began housing homeless people in the Love No Hate location, violating his lease and city laws. Last January he was ordered to stop.
Zilberman’s most dramatic moments include a loud verbal attack on the WeHo City Council during a meeting in April 2015 that prompted Sheriff’s deputies to move down the aisle of the City Council Chambers in case it turned violent. Zilberman’s tirade apparently was over the refusal of city staffers to let him place frightening photos of concentration camp victims in the lobby of City Hall in recognition of YomHaShoah, otherwise known as Holocaust Rembrance Day. Then there was spate of shouting and making obscene gestures at members of the City Council while they were on a float in June’s L.A. Pride parade that led to him being handcuffed and removed from the scene.
In his text exchange with WEHOville, Zilberman reiterated his frequent complaint that West Hollywood needs to improve its image. “WeHo is better then fake image, WeHo is better then just talking and taking and almost nothing is done. WeHo is better then this and so am I, now I’m in a place that I can be just me, show the world, it takes only one voice to make the rest of the world smile.
“Everything is for a reason. The day I arrive to Tel Aviv the world lost a hero, Simon Peres was my teacher of what one man can do. Now, I’m free to be me, to smile and give and not listen to people that the title is more important that their goals. I’m home, and I love it.”
Ida, how can you not scream when you see what’s happening to our city. maybe if our leaders stop spending our money on parking garage and on our fake image, and take care of all people, i will not have reason to scream. a city of less then 2 miles with so many homeless on our streets, drugs users (rich and poor), drunks everywhere and people having sex for money to pay they rent, i will not have reason to scream, since when screaming is a crime? hiding the truth and the fact or just talking about our challenges so… Read more »
Attn: Mr. Palmieri: I’ve never had or known of any animals who scream hatred & obscenities at public meeting, who exhibited extremely abusive behavior, who were nothing but trouble & of no help to anyone. You are indeed describing an all too common human behavior that has nothing to do with animals, all of whom deserve our respect.
Jimmy, I agree. His rants and verbal assaults were out of line, even if one could argue that his heart was in the right place, on certain issues. The time he went off on the City Council (April, 2015), I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t thrown out of the chambers. He seemed very unstable, and possibly dangerous. I do, however, miss the store he had near Fubar, which has been closed for a couple years. I can’t think of another place in West Hollywood that had quite the variety of swimwear, at reasonable prices (LASC is heavily… Read more »
Thanks for all the attention, maybe now it’s time not to worry about NIR and worry about our people in needs, like our homeless our elderly those who use drugs and our crime in our city. I would like to say is THANK YOU.
Yes Nir was disruptive and at times disrespectful at meetings, often subjecting his fellow citizens to over the top tirades without thinking of how counter productive he could be. On the other hand he raised some very uncomfortable truths about how we deal, (or don’t deal), with the homeless and his compassion was real. The fabric of our city is a bit less colorful upon his departure.
I for one won’t miss him at all. Obnoxious, rude, incoherent and one of the many reasons people don’t like to attend City Council Meetings (because it brings out the crazies). Good bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Not a moment too soon. This is a man who time and time again would scream hatred and obscenities at public meetings, at city officials, and anyone that would listen to his yammering. I never actually knew where the “love” was in his love no hate rhetoric. In all of my years in Weho, I have never ever observed such extremely abusive behavior, directed at anyone that wouldn’t listen to him. He was nothing but contradictions, trouble, and of little or no help to anyone. Hopefully he can reflect on his animal like behavior while he is no longer here.… Read more »
fine7760 i hope the half of the time that you did understand me, you understand that we as a city need to stop living in a fantasy land and take care of our challenges we are facing daily. METH. HEROIN. AIDS. HOME-LESS. OVER DEVELOPMENT & EVERYTHING BETWEEN. look at our new “pride” $18.000.000 parking garage, look whats happening to our elderly and those who needs our support, maybe then you will realize talk is cheap. it’s not about my english or me, it’s about time we wake up and face the truth and stop the corruption that our city facing.… Read more »
“…Simon Peres was my teacher of what one man can do…”
Funny, I don’t think Mr. Nir actually learned anything Simone Perez had to teach…
Robert, i wish you the best new year.
Simon Perez was all about the truth and the facts and so am i.
So Nir, yet so far away….
Half the time I had no idea what he was talking about. Between the screaming and his heavy accent how on earth would anyone know what his current issues were?