Imagine a strip club, neon lights, bills flying, and dancers putting on quite the show. But for the past three weeks in North Hollywood, Star Garden’s lights haven’t been shining so bright.
Strippers have been striking at Star Garden, a strip club in North Hollywood, after dancers’ safety concerns were ignored.
A customer recorded a video of a dancer topless and refused to delete it, which is against company policy. One of the dancers complained to management for letting this happen, but ended up getting fired. After receiving no support from security, employees decided to strike. This has been going on for three weeks and shows no sign of stopping.
The strike was organized by Reagan, that’s her stage name. She’s a stripper who was fired from Star Garden. Reagan declined to provide her legal name for safety concerns.
REAGAN: I found it very, very bizarre that this club had this rule where there was sort of a barrier between the security and the dancers where the security was also told. Not only were the dancers told that they couldn’t go to the security, but the security was told by the bosses that they could not intervene.
As for the response from management? Little to none.
REAGAN: So we are going to we’re going to do this our way because we know that we have the power so that I’m trying to sort of like Weasel in like individual interviews that that’s that that’s like a well-known tactic to try to like, break the unity of a group. So that is all we have heard. But then, yeah, silence. They have not like they haven’t made any statements or like spoken to us directly.
Carol Ann Peterson, an expert in domestic and workplace violence offers a possible solution.
CAROL ANN PETERSON: Well, you know, one of the ways they can make a complaint, but it’s not an easy process and it’s a very lengthy process is the, you know, equal economic equal opportunity commission. That’s where you would file a complaint against an employer. But then you also get employers who will retaliate. So it’s not simple, it’s not easy, and it’s not quick.
Peterson says that women’s issues are still not taken seriously in the United States, especially in stigmatized industries like sex work.
PETERSON: That should never be the case. Somebody’s safety should never have to be on the line simply because you’re doing a job that society may not approve of.
The turnouts at the strike have been strong. People gather at the front of the building, lead chants, and successfully turn away customers. The continued support has Reagan feeling more empowered than ever.
REAGAN: I’m imagining it like opened people’s minds a little bit so that now this, I feel like there’s a path forward. I feel like we’re not just going to be like banging and yelling into the abyss. I feel like people are actually listening, maybe for the first time. So that to me, that’s exciting.
The strippers hope to pressure management into implementing safer working conditions. But management has yet to acknowledge the strike. More power to the brave women who are paving a way for future generations to advocate for safety in the workplace.