The employees of Skin Cabaret and Jameson’s Babe’s Cabaret face charges of violating the city’s existing strict ordinances, which are expected to become even stricter on Dec. 12 when the Scottsdale City Council meets at City Hall to draft further strip club regulations.
If the new regulations pass, Jameson herself admitted that the clubs would be forced to close, and accused the city of using “a hired gun for the religious right” to carry out its efforts.
That “gun” is Tennessee lawyer Scott Bergthold, an expert on drafting strip club regulations who has helped several cities enact stricter laws for adult businesses.
Bergthold most recently made headlines for his work with officials in Tampa, Fla., who are currently trying to curb efforts by a club in that city to market a converted bus as a mobile strip club. He heads multiple socially conservative groups, including the Community Defense Council, and has made his entire legal practice defending strip club regulations.
“City funds were used to employ Bergthold, a well-known hired gun for the religious right, to rewrite city laws and try to ram through an unconstitutional ordinance that would shut down a business that has been operating peacefully and legally for over 20 years in the same location,” Jameson said in her statement.
Jameson accused Bergthold and Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross of seizing on the star’s fame to launch what Jameson sees as a politically transparent crusade against adult businesses.
“We intend to fight this form of censorship to protect our First Amendment rights,” Jameson said.
If approved next week, the new city regulations would prohibit dancers from performing within six feet of customers and outlaw nude performances, essentially muting the point of a strip club in the first place.
The new regulations also would make it illegal for patrons to drink, or the clubs to sell alcoholic beverages of any kind, a second blow to the clubs.
“Erotic dancing has been declared a legal form of artistic expression in court after court, including the U.S. Supreme Court,” Jameson said. “Whether you want to watch erotic dances or not is entirely up to you, but no one has the right to impose their own narrow moralism on the rest of us, and that is exactly what Mr. Bergthold is advising Mayor Manross to do.”
Manross and Bergthold have both been surprisingly quiet about their efforts to shut the clubs down. Neither responded to phone calls placed by XBiz, and the mayor has been holding frequent private sessions with Bergthold, more than likely over the proposed legislation.
The official stance from Manross’ office was to “wait until the City Council meeting,” according to a spokesperson.
Jameson said she would be in attendance at the City Council meeting to defend her club, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.