According to reporting today in the Grand Rapids Press, Herb Newhouse, owner of the Red Barn Adult Theatre, will defy the city’s resolution restricting adult entertainment. Newhouse is quoted as saying that the resolution banning “all nude entertainment” and requires dancers to remain six-feet from patrons, is costing his 34-year old business $2,200 per day (or 80%). Newhouse says that with a maximum fine of $500 per ordinance violation, that it makes financial sense to defy the resolution. The Grand Rapids Press says that Newhouse “plans to tell his dancers to do business as usual, including performing lap dances.” WZZM 13 further reported that Newhouse is altering the physical layout of his club in order to attempt to setup his strip club in such a way that it no longer falls under the “sexually oriented business” classification subject to regulation. To this end, Newhouse is installing a wall to separate his adult bookstore and peep show from the dance club and is having dancers remain “partially clothed” which he believes will permit the club to offer lap dances and remain open all night. Mayor George Heartwell was quoted in the Press article saying that the courts have said that the ordinance is enforceable and that Newhouse can expect to police officers to visit his business, a legal threat to which WOOD TV 8 quoted Newhouse as saying “Let ‘em in. Have ‘em arrest me”
As has typically been the case in the corporate media’s coverage of the city’s adult entertainment resolution, there was no substantive discussion in any of the recent stories about why such a resolution was passed or how women working in the industry are treated. The corporate media has entirely ignored the relationship of strip clubs and other sex industry businesses to patriarchy, despite the fact today’s Grand Rapids Press article in particular, indicate that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. In the Press article, Newhouse’s comments indicate a patriarchal orientation with Newhouse being described (and describing himself) as the one who is losing money and explaining that he intends tell “his” dancers to perform lap dances. Significantly, Newhouse is not quoted as expressing any concern for female dancers employed at his business, thereby providing a certain degree of credence to the notion that the ones profiting from the sex industry are predominantly male and that it the treatment of women is of little concern as long as money is being made.