Getting witnesses for one's case against a strip club can be anything but wonderful. While I am forever grateful for my recorders and what they have done over the past few years, things would have been so much easier if I had more reliable witnesses.
Throughout much of my strip club litigation, I have been fortunate enough to have the support of litigious strippers who have sued before me in other states and decades. This article summarizes a few of the more well known stripper rights activities in history. From my litigious stripper predecessors, I have learned that it is possible to win a case against a strip club even if the odds are not in my favor. However, in arbitration with Seville, that wasn't true. I lost in arbitration, and much of it had to do with witnesses. I encountered a few notable tragedies in my failed pursuit of Seville witnesses.
Seville had a dancer who went by Skylar. Skylar and I talked a number of times at work about stripper labor rights. She discussed how she had been talking to a lawyer about the club, and how she had “people on the inside,” who were keeping an eye on things at Seville. She and I discussed the level of control that management exerted over us, and how it would be good to have a union. She and I discussed how management was engaging in surveillance behavior. Skylar didn't know about my litigious past, but she gave me advice about how I needed to be documenting everything that took place at Seville if I ever wanted to take action in the future. I was recording Skylar when she was telling me this, as I recorded most of our conversations. I was so happy to have found her, and refreshed by her enthusiasm. However, Skylar was a heavy drinker and often intoxicated during our conversations. I was terminated from Seville in the Summer of 2016 and by the Summer of 2017 when I contacted Skylar before my arbitration, she claimed that she didn't remember our conversations. She said that she didn't want to be involved, because she didn't think she could contribute anything worthwhile, and that she was finally being treated with respect by the Seville staff. She told me that she needed her job at Seville as something to fall back on if her other jobs fell through. She said that she was only vaguely aware of any labor rights stuff at Seville. This was all very disappointing, but Seville was not the first club I have sued, so it wasn't a complete surprise that a dancer would deny everything and stay scabby. Skylar is friends with some of the Seville staff I have written about on this blog, and in the end, her relationship with that club was more important than taking action. I've experienced a lot of liars, abusers and gas-lighters in my life, who have denied events taking place or conversations happening. With the clear conversations that I recorded between Skylar and I regarding stripper labor rights, it is somewhat comforting to know that I am telling the truth and not just delusional.
Marina was one of the most beautiful dancers who worked at Seville. She was a vegan Latina, an animal rights advocate, intelligent and unique. She mostly kept to herself. She was a great salesperson and looked wonderful on stage. Any club would be lucky to have her. One day, a dancer named Elicia Marie Binman informed me that Marina had been fired, because she wasn't tipping enough to staff in the champagne lounge. Elicia Marie Binman informed me that they had been bullying Marina for a while before getting rid of her. I spoke with Elicia Marie Binman about stripper labor rights and how fucked up it was that Marina was fired, which Elicia Marie Binman agreed with. Elicia Marie Binman is a coward though, who is socially invested in the cliques of the club and too apathetic to leave her scab comfort. When I asked Elicia Marie Binman to testify at my arbitration about what happened to Marina, she wouldn't do it. She wouldn't put me into contact with Marina. She wouldn't do anything.
One dancer who I talked to a lot was a woman who I will call Selena. I told her all about my past lawsuits and how I was afraid that Seville wanted me gone. Before Seville, Selena worked at Rick's and had a bad experience there, but she didn't tell me details about it. Selena would have made a wonderful witness in my arbitration. Eventually, Seville got rid of me and I didn't get a chance to talk to her again until after I already lost my arbitration. It was both tragic and wonderful the next time I spoke with her, because she informed me that she also sued Seville for sexual harassment, as well as Rick's, had friends who were witnesses, and that she included me in her testimony about illegal termination. She didn't know how to find me or why I was fired, but testified about it in her case.
Since starting The Seville Series in September, I've been trolled, harassed and received multiple death threats. However, I've also received some really wonderful messages from women reaching out to me about their negative experiences at Seville. For example, I recently referred a woman to a lawyer after she contacted me about how Jeremy Chase took her to the third floor of Seville and sexually assaulted her. Seville and Jeremy Chase are currently under investigation.
The kinds of messages I get from dancers who have also sued Seville (or plan to) are heartening, and even as I lost in arbitration, I am hopeful that Seville will change under pressure. I am often a lone wolf in life's pursuits, but there is strength in numbers. If the current intensity gains momentum against clubs, the entire industry will have to change. I urge future litigious strippers to seek each other out and hold on tight. A recorder can help you win or settle, but if the defendant is stacked with witnesses, no matter how courageous and strong and right you are, the arbitrator may rule in the defendant's favor.
Seville brought in five witnesses to testify against me. My testimony was strong, and before we found out the arbitration ruling, Seville chose to settle the NLRB claims. It was interesting that they settled with the NLRB after seeing my arbitration testimony, instead of risking it. Seville did win in arbitration though, and it was because of their witnesses. The next few posts will discuss and examine those five.