Before I start there something that I want every reader to go check out, I have swopped messages with dancers and feel that I shouldn't steal their voices it is best if everyone takes a few more minutes and reads what the union has put out. It is something that I personally find absolutely abhorrent and having talked to a few dancers the whole thing stinks. What has everyone up in arms? Women's Equality Party and our buddies at NO One is buying it sent in investgators to catch venues out. But the thing is the investigators recorded the dancers on Video. Forgetting the moral issues which comes close to revenge porn there is a legal issue of a lack of consent. Read the article here on United Voices of the World.
So sitting here about to embark on a rather long blog piece as a rebuttal to Dr Sasha Rakoff's claims for Not Buying It listed under striptease sleaze on their website. I would suggest you screen shot a copy in case they decide to remove the offending piece. Now the blog has been quiet because there hasn't been much stupidity out there that has been worth putting the time and effort in. The clubs are getting their licenses renewed, a lot with zero challenges and only a few with any real risk. So been sitting down investigating something that because there are not enough data points so there is no way I would made a claim of anything. However it seems that others have decided to make a serious mess and then get that mess in the Times. It is the old throw enough and hope it sticks approach (cheers Brute).
Andrew Norfolk is a senior reporter at the Times and worked on breaking the story about abuse in Rotherham and the grooming gangs. It is obvious he maintains a relationship with victims as the latest poster girl for Not Buying It is Sammy Woodhouse and if a reporter doesn't fact check his source before publishing in a national newspaper then there is something wrong. I will be writing to the Times pointing out the standard of the source material. However Sammy was involved in the grooming and then went into stripping. Obviously it is an industry that can affect people but lots of industries employ people without checking their mental state. I belieeve Sammy has a book out which is an echo of the Object approach to campaigning before they crashed and burned.
So this is going to be very dry, boring and full of simple maths but it is important people understand just how poorly people have put claims together that make no sense and are really poor mathematically. To start with Not Buying It (who I will use NBI in future for) asked Professor Phil Hubbard for the number of venues out there as was told between 150 and 190. Now to make a claim of a problem sound like a real issue use the term a third sounds a lot worse than just over a quarter. However if NBI are making claims based on 150 venues then I will use that too unless they want to base on a different number of clubs. See when someone uses a scale or a baseline in mathematics it makes sense any person who continues to discuss the issue should keep it the same.
Before I even start making points on the claims made by NBI first I need to look at the ensure the basic maths are dealt with and that the approach ensures no duplications and that venues that are no longer open are not included as NBI claim the figures are for the current industry (eg part of the 150). Obviously generic claims are harder to analyse but I will try to get this includes the issue with TENs that are going to be involved. The “fact sheet” refers 65 news paper reports that haven't been fact checked in the slightest.
So after reading through and checking for venues that are currently operating and removing duplicate entries for venues we are down from over 60 to 25 venues actually with anything to answer. Which when you cut something in half it is not a good sign to start with. Perhaps the best sign of the standard of research and fact checking is the last three items listed about two clubs in Worcs. The Rivera Show club and Platinum Premier. Now if anyone took 30 seconds to check the details they find that the Worcs concerned is in fact in Massachusetts, USA. Now I don't know who did the work and who got paid but Sasha I would want my money back.
There is another entry for Worcs about the actual venue Black Cherry was raided by Police acting on local intelligence for modern day slavery. If this was the case I would be up there with my pitchfork. However it seems the Owner and the manager were both released a few hours later without charge. I read the same article and I would never make a claim about Slavery when no charges have been brought. Perhaps the manager and the owner should be thinking about action both against the Times as well as NBI. In case they don't see this article I may just drop them an e-mail. Anyway this would drop the figures to 24.
Included in the list of reasons that clubs need to be shut down is the Griffin in London. I was a little surprised as there was no legal issue about the club just the opinion about the pub from an online mag. It wasn't the author's cup of tea so he called it sleazy. Not sure that can be counted as an actual legal issue so as far as I am concerned we are now looking at 23.
Now comes four stories in the press that are variations of a theme. Three have the dancer attacked and one has the venue attacked. The reason for the attacks is the clubs following the rules and dancers not performing sex acts. Following the rules should not be abuse from the club. The club and the dancers are doing exactly what the councils expect of them. I don't know why guys go in expecting sex? Might have something to do with the claims made by NBI. In the future any dancer who is attack should hold NBI partially responsible as the stories and claims NBI make will set an expectation. And trying to create claims of abuse when the dancers follow the rules annoys the hell out of me. So we are now at 19 which is less than a third of the claims made by NBI on their PDF currently having value.
There is one that doesn't quite fit in this as a customer got handy and was reprimanded by the club, the fact he was a Lib/Dem candidate for MP in Tower Hamlets. Once again the dancer and club followed the rules but it seems if it makes it into the paper even if the story is about the club and dancers following rules there is still a story to deal with. But someone saw an article and rather than checking what happend they put it on their PDF so then there were 18.
There are two clubs I cannot be sure are open or closed, I am looking into this and it may change the figures even more. Also there are two venues where brawls took place outside, in both cases the only link to the fight is the fact it happened in the street that the club is in. I am trying to confirm if the club was involved in any way. There is one where a fight broke out inside and spilled into the street, Still if you compare it to night clubs it is nothing. I will leave the figures in so this would take it down possibly to 16. Still 18 until we learn more. I wouldnt argue about an issue if the fight breaks out inside.
Finally there are two stories where the venue has agreed to amend practices with the council so whilst the stories have value the venues are working to correct the issues. I would call the total 16 but just to be kind I will leave it at 18 with the possibility for it to go as low as 14 actual incidents over the last ten years.So clubs will work at ensuring dancer and customers are protected to save their licenses. Just going shut them all down, make thousands of women unemployed and claim someone might find work for them. It is not going to happen the only way to protect dancers and provide them with meanngful employment is to make sure the clubs and dancers understand how the rules need to work.
I have struggled with the claims of reporters working undercover in venues. Apart from the issue of dancing and performing on stage there is the issue of reporting, not being able to go back and say nothing going on. I mean what Editor would accept that and there would be no report. So call me concerned but it would be hard to trust those reports. Especially after reading some of the things Andrew Norfolk has got up to in making sure he gets a big byline.
So even if we take 150 venues as the standard we are working to it would being the actual figure to under an eigth instead of over a third. Just how NBI can justify such a mess I am not sure. Even worse is the case of the Times publishing a story that not only hasn't be fact checked it also has issues could leave to claims of defamation of character. So we are deinitely down to under 12.5% of the industry and could fall below 10% depending on feedback