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Why Strip Clubs Should be Treated Like Any Other Business

Monday, October 20, 2014


Photo credit: iStock

Every guy that’s ever had a buddy get married or divorced or any other excuse concocted to go to a strip club has been to one.

And it’s not just guys. I’ve known plenty of girls who go to the strip clubs too. Almost everyone you know has been at one stage or another. Yet still they come under attack.

Why? These dens of iniquity are part of the very fabric of this country and contribute to our local economy in a major way. Well, maybe that’s pushing it, but there does seem to be a common misconception that strip clubs are all run by drug dealers or pimps.

But this is a legal business that is forced to spend millions every year just to defend against these allegations and that is very costly. In any business, there are rules that have to be followed and if they aren’t, they are fined or closed down or whatever the law says.

'More strip clubs per capita'

Over the years living in Portland, I have heard - like most of you probably have – that Portland has more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the country. There’s no doubting that it’s a major – and thriving – industry here. So why are we all so uncomfortable with it?

I have two friends that own some of the most popular strip clubs in town.

One is a graduate of Georgetown University who majored in finance.  He’s a smart guy and a good friend. Loyal, caring and on many occasions has been very generous to people he barely knew. He’s a stand up guy you’d be lucky to have as a friend. Moreover, he always drinks water while at work and rarely drinks any alcohol outside of it.

My other friend doesn’t have a degree but was a business owner at a young age. One of the people that seemed to always have a job and made money.  He is a super protective parent to his son, is married to his son's mother and creates as much of a normal life as he can for someone that works all nights and owns a bunch of strip clubs. Besides really obsessing about the band Kiss, he's a normal family business owner. 

Neither one of these men fit the general notion of how a strip club owner might look or behave.

Legal, tax-paying businesses

Strip clubs are legal. They pay taxes, permits, get inspected, approved or disapproved for different licenses. They have to follow extremely strict rules, and run a business above board that’s under more scrutiny than most other legitimate businesses.

Yet it seems like every time I speak with these friends they are being accused of running criminal operations or trafficking women against their will.

These are serious accusations, of serious crimes. My friends have never been convicted of any these charges, but have repeatedly had to defend themselves against such allegations.

And I feel these accusations have been leveled at them out of moral prurience rather than any real suspicion of wrongdoing. 

I remember when the Furrier in downtown NW finally had to close their doors after three generations running the shop. It closed down because Portland decided it didn’t like fur anymore and turned a blind eye when thugs came and threw blood on the people that were trying to enter the store.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion about the fur trade, about eating meat, about strip clubs even. But as long as it’s legal, don’t we have the responsibility to let people pursue their livelihood?

Whatever our private feelings on such things, unless what they are doing is against the law, all business-owners deserve protection and fairness.

It’s pretty simple: Either make their business illegal, or let them alone.

Throw the criminals in jail, and enforce the laws of these trades. We should give the owners of these businesses the same benefit of the doubt we give doctors, politicians, lawyers, bankers, professional athletes.

I’m for adding jobs, creating income for people and taking that income and spending it, contributing it to our bottom line. So unless we decide to change the laws and loose interest in naked woman and fur, leave these earners alone.

Originally from New York, Scott Taylor moved to Portland in 1996. He's an entrepreneur, Internet millionaire, former MadMan, author, eco-industrialist and disruptive force. 

Banner Photo Credit: iStock 


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