There was never any breaking point in my decision to sue strip clubs and help with the union effort. From age nineteen, I knew it was a passion of mine and this has been a gradual pursuit. I have told this to every journalist I have ever talked to, but every journalist continues to ask me what point it was that made me "fed up." Bryce Covert lied in her poorly written article and said there was a certain point when I was "fed up." She used and exploited me just as any strip club, corporation or business does to their workers, for her own benefit.
After the NLRB helped me with Hustler, I made a few tweets about it that Bryce Covert of ThinkProgress.org read. She contacted me over twitter for an interview, which I agreed to. She conducted it over the phone. I found her to be rude, arrogant and a poor listener. I was appalled when the article came out, due to the poor spelling and the exploitative way in which she used the interview. The opening line describes me as being “groped” at every club I have worked for years. I wasn't assaulted at every club I've ever worked at and while sexual harassment is a huge problem at many clubs, the way she described me was very dehumanizing. When she contacted me for an interview, she expressed interested in my NLRB experience. That is what I thought the article was going to be about, but then she kept asking me more questions that had nothing to do with the NLRB.
The law is very clear that dancers are employees and not independent contractors, but in Bryce's article, she refers to my description of the law as “rattling off” reasons why I am an employee. There were points in the article that she glossed over reality and just embellished. In the end of the article, she says that Hustler is the biggest strip club in Las Vegas, but that is not true. Sapphire is the biggest strip club in Las Vegas. Her writing and account of facts is sloppy and I regret doing it.
At the same time that she interviewed me, I was working with Madison Mainwaring of Vice magazine to put out an article for the December issue. Matilda Bickers put Madison into contact with me. My experience with Madison was much better. She was respectful, empathetic and sincere with me every step of the way. Unfortunately, the ThinkProgress article came out before Vice and because Vice didn't want to do a repeat article, Madison's editor made her significantly trim the article. Major things were left out of it, like my NLRB experience, in favor of writing about the SB 224 bill and my sexual harassment claims.
After a few more unsatisfying media experiences that I didn't feel effectively told the whole story or that I felt sensationalized parts of the issues, I decided to write my own articles and submit them to websites I thought would be welcoming to the labor struggles of a stripper mislabeled as an independent contractor. What I found were editors insistent upon changing my words, sentence structures and attitudes, to fit their own narrative and vibe. It was all very insulting and patronizing, so I decided to make this website earlier this year, with no HTML experience.
My advice to activists is to be clear about what kind of person is interviewing you and why. Stick to sound bites and don't go off on tangents with interviewers that they could later use to embarrass you. Understand that people like Bryce Covert are more concerned with their own careers and sensational, incorrect articles than your message. Understand that websites, even ones claiming to represent sex workers, are ultimately more interested in their own message than who you are as an individual.
My self-education of HTML has been a uphill battle, but I am happy to have this website and hope it grows and expands in the future.