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Penthouse Dancer Wants Respect, Wages

February 12, 2010

The Penthouse Executive Club of Manhattan cheats dancers out of wages, pockets a portion of the tips, forces dancers to buy their own costumes, cheats them out of overtime, and exacts payment for the “privilege” of working there ––– just like every other strip joint on the planet. But exotic dancer Leslie Liwanag (pictured) isn’t taking that crap any more. She’s suing her employers in federal court, according to the Daily News today.

And that’s one heck of an interesting development. The entire exotic dancing industry’s business model is founded on the inequities listed above. Strippers are regarded by their places of employ as “independent contractors,” and custom dictates that the first $40 to $60 of their daily income goes to the house. And that is, when you think about it, little better than the hooker’s business “arrangement” with her pimp.

But strippers are no longer entirely airheads without marketable skills. If you’ve actually talked to a stripper for five minutes –– about real shit, not their favorite position –– you’d learn that they have exceptionally hard jobs, and work very very hard at it (no pun intended). At its best, it’s high-stakes athleticism and art with world-championship competitions. One would think, at the highest and most lucrative levels (like the Penthouse Executive Club), employees would be considered a firm’s greatest assets. But no: they’re still nothing but dry-hump hookers. It’s time for that to change.

So a tip ‘o’ th’ hat to you, Leslie Liwanag, for throwing a bit of bedlam into the game. While it sucks that you’re never going to get a job with any other exotic dancing establishment ever, it seems you’ve got your ducks in a row; the image credits reveal that you’ve got an FIT degree and you’re starting a fashion line for petite women. With that, and a totally rad lawsuit, now that’s the way to shake your moneymaker.

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