Hustler Lingerie/'I Love Vagina' Ejected from Cincinnati

Hustler Lingerie/'I Love Vagina' Ejected from Cincinnati
Tom Hymes
CINCINNATI - This morning, an hour before vendor booths were to open for business, Hustler Lingerie and "I Love Vagina" were kicked out of the Riverbend Music Center, one of the stops on the Projekt Revolution Tour, after being told by event organizers that they would be arrested if they did not immediately pack up and leave.

"I got a little taste of what Larry [Flynt] has been fighting all these years," Drew Fin-Kelson, president of the "I Love Vagina" Clothing Company, told XBIZ. Fin-Kelson was setting up the booth at the time of the brief confrontation with event organizers and tour management.

Projeckt Revolution is the name of the national tour started by the band Linkin Park in 2001. This year's tour, which has a half dozen or so dates remaining, features bands such as The Bravery, Ashes divide, Chris Cornell and Hawthorne Heights. Like with many tours, a number of vendors also "tag along," selling their products and branding their companies to concertgoers.

Hustler Lingerie and "I Love Vagina" are paid vendors that have shared a booth at every stop of the tour, until today.

"We got there at 10:00 a.m., with an hour to set up," Fin-Kelson said. "At about 10 minutes before 11, three people came walking up. One of the guys worked for the venue, one was a sheriff-looking type and the last was the producer of the show, of the tour."

Fin-Kelson said that he was told that because of Hustler's history in Cincinnati, the booth was not welcome in the venue. He asked if he could swap the tent out for another that did not brand Hustler so conspicuously, but was told no.

"They said, 'We don't want to have Hustler represented anywhere on this trade show floor," he said. "I was told that if the booth was not struck immediately, we would be thrown in jail."

Rather than make a scene that might have jeopardized their participation in the rest of the tour, Fin-Kelson made the instant decision to comply with the demand and pack up the booth, despite the fact that no pornography or other explicit material was being sold at the booth, and the ejection amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights.

"It sucks, because we lost money, but we made the right decision," he said. "The thing is, people love seeing the Hustler tent and buying the goods we have to offer. They get really excited when they see we are there, and we are having a blast guerrilla marketing our brands on the tour."

In a press release issued today, Hustler Lingerie also claimed that Ohio Governor Ted Strickland may have been behind the eviction, but Keith Dailey, the governor's press secretary told XBIZ that they were unaware of the situation.

Hustler's issues with Cincinnati date back to the early 1970s, when Larry Flynt opened one of his Hustler Clubs in the city. In 1976, he was tried on charges of obscenity and pandering, in what might be the nation's most significant obscenity trial, and in 1999 he and his brother Jimmy Flynt fought off similar charges in that same city.