If they can one day coordinate their agendas, a strange night is on the agenda for the boss of the UK’s biggest strip club chain and a feminist activist determined to drive these businesses out of Leicester.
UK Spearmint director Rhino John Specht invited Helen Everett, a Women’s Equality Party activist, to visit her Belgrave Gate club in the city center after hearing her advocate for its closure.
The couple came face to face this week at a Leicester City Council meeting to determine the future of ‘places of sexual entertainment’ (SEV) in the city.
Some 15 months after the club’s last opening, Mr Specht is hopeful Spearmint Rhino can operate again once the government lifts the Covid-19 restriction which currently bans lap-dancing.
He hopes council grants him a new place for sexual entertainment, although she heard Ms Everett claim that the industry was degrading and exploited the women who worked there.
During the audience at Town Hall in Charles Street, Ms Everett asked Mr Specht if she would be allowed into his Leicester club.
“As a guest? Of course, why not? Would you like to visit me and meet the animators?” Asked Mr. Specht.
Ms Everett said: “I don’t need the protection of men.”
“I mean, I’ll be your guide and show you around.” Mr Specht said.
Ms Everett said she would be interested in a visit and asked if any male artists were already performing, and was told they do on some nights.
“I would be bored and besides, I am married and happy.” she said.
Mr. Specht confirmed that he was too.
His immediate concerns are to have the club’s ceiling fixed – he told advisers a water leak had caused him to collapse – but his invitation may well be accepted.
Get updates from LeicestershireLive straight to your inbox – click here to sign up for our newsletter.
You can also add your email address in the black registration area at the top of this page. It is so easy!
Ms Everett, however, told the meeting that she didn’t think a modern Leicester should have strip clubs.
City council policy limits the number to five such locations – though there are only three – and she hopes the authority will reset that number to zero.
She argued that the city council is violating its duty of equality in the public sector and, as a result, is failing women by licensing strip clubs.
Spearmint Rhino and Platinum Lace in Abbey Street are looking to renew their SEV licenses and she said both requests should be denied by advisers.
Platinum Lace attorney Matthew Phipps told advisers, “We provide legitimate employment.
“People are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether they want to work there.
Ms Everett said the “animators” who worked there were independent contractors without the same leave and sick leave rights as other employees.
Robert Sutherland, representing Spearmint Rhino, said: “The opponent confuses the public sector’s duty of equality with a political agenda.
“She tried to say that the job is kind of second-rate and that people can do better. This is his opinion.
“The people involved in this industry are doing the job because they enjoy it or because they have to do it for the money, they have mouths to feed.
“They are no different from others. This is a legal activity and these people should be able to do the job they choose to do. “
Advisors are currently examining whether to grant renewed licenses to Platinum Lace and Spearmint Rhino.
Decisions must be rendered within the next five working days.