Porn News

Report: Bazooka’s and Temptations Violating Strip Club Nude Laws

Missouri – from – Nine months after Missouri toughened restrictions on the state’s adult businesses, at least two local strip clubs are taking advantage of authorities’ lax enforcement of their X-rated entertainment.

Kansas City Star reporters recently observed more than a dozen female dancers at Bazooka’s and Temptations whose entire breasts were visible. Although state law allows such “semi-nude” exposure, clubs that “regularly” offer it must close at midnight.

Both downtown clubs, however, remained open and admitted customers well past that closing deadline.

Some dancers also appeared on stages less than six feet from patrons, another violation of the statute. Reporters saw chairs lining the elevated stages in both clubs, placing some customers only inches from performers.

But Dick Bryant, a lawyer for Kansas City’s adult entertainment industry, said the clubs are following the law, in part because he claimed the dancers only appear to be topless. The exposed breasts, he said, are actually covered by a thin layer of opaque latex.

“Once they’re covered, none of the rest of the law applies,” Bryant argued.

He also said clubs are observing other parts of the new law, including rules that prohibit full nudity and semi-nude dancers from touching customers. The Star found those regulations — as well as those involving the sale of alcohol — were being followed.

Authorities said that, while the courts are deciding the constitutionality of the law, no Kansas City clubs have been cited for violations.

Police and regulators acknowledged that confusion over who’s responsible for enforcement — and the legal debate over the law itself — has led them to back off from prosecuting clubs that may be breaking the rules. The law does not specify which agency is responsible for enforcement.

“The state statute is not yet clarified (or) enforceable,” Kansas City Police Department spokesman Capt. Steve Young said in an email statement.

That posture has angered those who helped write the law, which they contend is aimed at reducing crime and poverty related to the adult entertainment industry.

“I would be disappointed that law enforcement is letting them get away with this,” said Phillip Cosby [pictured] of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri, an anti-pornography group that helped write the legislation. “What is the resolve of law enforcement in upholding the law?”

After a state court judge refused to delay implementation of the new rules, a coalition of strip club owners sought a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that its provisions are unconstitutional. A decision is expected later this year.

After the initial court ruling, many clubs said they would instruct their dancers to wear bathing suits or underwear tops and bottoms to comply with the new rules.

Reporters visited three clubs on different days, once in the afternoon and again on a Friday evening into the early morning hours of Saturday.

At all three locations — Bazooka’s, Temptations and The Shady Lady — dancers wore bathing suits or similar clothing while not on stage. At The Shady Lady, on the city’s Northeast side, that practice continued when entertainers began to dance.

At the other two locations, however, more than a dozen on-stage dancers removed their tops while music played. That should have triggered the midnight closing requirement and forced customers to stay at least six feet from the stage.

Bryant, however, maintained that neither provision applied at Bazooka’s because the dancers were covering the lower part of their breasts with latex.

“The latex could be painted on the entire body,” Bryant said. “The dancers at Bazooka’s do wear latex which opaquely covers the areola of the performer.”

Evidence of that opaque covering, however, was not visible during the visits by Star reporters, who sat less than 10 feet from the dancers.

Bazooka’s managing officer, Dick Snow, said he believes his dancers are in compliance with what he called a “murky” law. He said he was unaware of any citations issued against any adult business in the state, except for one incident in St. Joseph last summer involving male dancers.

“I’m just trying to keep my business afloat until the court throws out this law,” Snow said.

Snow said Bazooka’s covers its dancers’ breasts after midnight. At that point, he argued, the establishment can stay open because it no longer qualifies as a “sexually oriented business” that is subject to the law’s stringent closing rules.

But Cosby said Snow’s interpretation of the law is wrong.

“It’s pretty clever,” Cosby said. “But … it either is or isn’t a sexually oriented business (that must close at midnight). You can’t have it both ways. The statute is pretty clear.”

Col. Hugh Mills of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, which can be involved in investigating potential violations of the law, agreed.

“If it’s an adult business at one time of the day, it’s the same adult business, and you can’t moderate it just by changing clothes,” Mills said.

Topless dancers at Temptations also did not appear to be wearing latex or other coverings.

A city official said records show the club’s owner is a company called Ziegfeld’s Inc. Its president in 2010 was John Ribaste Jr., according to state records. Ribaste could not be reached for comment.

Bryant said he also represents Temptations and that the club believes it “fully complies with the provisions of the law.”

The controversial law enacting stricter adult business regulations went into effect in August 2010. Supporters included then-state Sen. Matt Bartle, a Lee’s Summit Republican, who argued that the measure would reduce violence and alcohol abuse.

“Most human beings understand that if you mix alcohol and women dancing in the nude, that’s a tough combo,” he said at the time.

Bartle declined to comment last week on the findings of The Star’s investigation.

But supporters such as Cosby said the law’s provisions were carefully crafted to also prevent abuse of the entertainers and protect the health of customers. The six-foot distance between patrons and the stage, he said, was designed to avoid “an exchange of bodily fluids” during a dance.

Another provision of the statute prohibits semi-nude performers from touching customers. Although Star reporters repeatedly saw performers touching patrons — and observed private dances performed by women in the clubs — they saw no evidence that dancers touched anyone while they were topless.

That, too, appears to meet the law’s requirements.

At the Shady Lady, reporters saw a half-dozen dancers perform with their breasts covered. The business, which stayed open past midnight, appeared to be in full compliance with the statute.

Owner Joe Spinello said he wanted to follow the law so he could continue to serve liquor. Under the state law, businesses that offer semi-nude entertainment cannot serve alcohol.

“Our liquor license is more important than anything we have going,” Spinello said.

He declined to discuss his competitors’ compliance with the new law, other than to say: “They’re going about it from a different angle than we are. … Each guy has to make a decision based on how close he is to going broke.”

Lax enforcement

Representatives of the Kansas City Police Department, the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, the Jackson County Sheriff’s department and Kansas City Regulated Industries all said they have some role in enforcing laws involving adult businesses.

But they acknowledged no one agency is charged with enforcement.

Kansas City officers currently enforce looser city ordinances regarding adult businesses, but not the tougher state laws.

“Jackson County has asked our vice unit to hold off on state cases until the legal issues have been resolved in Jefferson City,” said Young, the department’s spokesman.

Mills, of the Sheriff’s Department, said he doesn’t have enough deputies to pursue cases against the clubs unless there are specific complaints.

And the city’s Regulated Industries Division — which licenses adult clubs — hasn’t “played a great role” in enforcing the state law, manager Gary Majors said.

“We do routine checks from time to time,” Majors said. “I think we’ve been in all of them maybe once. We haven’t seen any violations.”

Majors said the city will consider rewriting its adult business ordinances to match the tougher state law after the legal challenges to the statute are concluded.

Agents from the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control might also play some role in enforcing the law. But legislators cut funding for the division, forcing layoffs that left eight liquor control agents to comb the state for alcohol sales to minors, lewdness and other potential violations.

The division’s jurisdiction might not completely extend to Bazooka’s or Temptations anyway, because the clubs said they don’t serve liquor.

Two agents with the division declined comment on the strip clubs. A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which oversees the division, was working on the Joplin, Mo., tornado recovery effort and did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Star reporters found all three adult businesses appeared to be suffering the effects from the reduced exposure of their entertainers, who performed partially or fully nude before the new law went into effect.

During the afternoon visits, the clubs were virtually empty. By late evening, they were half to two-thirds full.

Several dancers told reporters that customers and tips have decreased dramatically, which also was noted in documents filed with Missouri courts.

“I have four children whom I need to support,” Bazooka’s dancer Sally Lane said in an affidavit. “I was able to earn a sufficient living by dancing three days a week. … I am now dancing five to six days a week to earn substantially less.”

Dancer Rebecca Eli’s affidavit said, “I was earning approximately $750 to $1,500 per week. … Since the law went into effect I have been earning approximately $150 to $275 a week. Bazooka’s has had a huge drop-off in customers.”

Snow and Spinello said the new regulations prompted the layoff of dozens of dancers and other employees. In a recent court filing, Bryant said the restrictions “strike at the very heart of the business model under which these businesses operate.”

What’s next?

Club owners are asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the law, in part because of that financial impact, which they contend the Missouri General Assembly did not fully consider when it passed the law.

While the law is being appealed, some Missouri dancers and adult entertainment customers have taken their business to Kansas, industry officials acknowledged.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature considered — but failed to pass — a law similar to the Show-Me State’s new adult business statute.

“This bill imposes common sense restrictions on sexually oriented businesses,” state Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican, argued at the time.

A coalition of Democrats and some Republicans combined to kill the measure in a Senate committee, maintaining that it would cost Kansas revenue, reduce individual freedom and intrude on local governments’ authority.

The Adult Entertainment Statute in Missouri
•Prohibits full nudity.

•Requires sexually oriented businesses to close at midnight.

•Prohibits sale of alcohol in a sexually oriented business.

•Prohibits anyone under 18 from entering a sexually oriented business.

•Requires an elevated stage at least 6 feet from patrons for semi-nude performers.

• A “sexually oriented business” is defined as an adult bookstore, adult motion picture theater, semi-nude modeling studio, sexual encounter center or “adult cabaret.”

• An adult cabaret is a nightclub, bar, juice bar, restaurant or commercial establishment that regularly (consistently and repeatedly) features persons who appear “semi-nude.”

• Semi-nudity is defined as the showing of the female breast below a line across the top of the areola and extending across the width of the breast at that point, or the showing of male or female buttocks.

• The definition includes the lower portion of the female breast, “but shall not include any portion of the cleavage” exhibited by a dress, shirt or other article of clothing “provided the areola is not exposed in whole or in part.”


Related Posts

LonBrook to Distribute BSwish in Australia

VICTORIA, Australia — Pleasure products brand BSwish has tapped LonBrook to distribute its line of pleasure products in Australia. BSwish, a rep explained, has also undergone “a vibrant rebrand,” including the launch of its Infinite range and LE Beauty Editions.…

Girlfriends Films Debuts ‘Lesbian Psychodramas 40’

Girlfriends Films has announced the release of the 40th installment of its "Lesbian Psychodramas" girl/girl series.

Google Cracks Down on Adult Site Ad Placement Through Partner Network

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google disabled on Tuesday its Programmable Search Engine (ProSE) marketing product from several adult sites, after an attention-grabbing report for an analytics company was sensationalized by two advertising industry trade publications. According to Google’s VP of Global…

TeamSkeet Announces New Series ‘GlowUpz’

TeamSkeet has announced the debut of its latest series, "GlowUpz."

Researchers, ECP Release 1st ‘Pornhub Creator Consultations Report’

MONTREAL — Internet and sex work researchers Maggie MacDonald and Val Webber released their first “Pornhub Creator Consultations Report” last week, probing issues such as banking access for sex workers, different types of platform discrimination, and advocacy. This report draws…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.