Strippers in New York City have started a hashtag campaign to raise awareness of racism in their industry.
The campaign started when a 29 year old dancer called Gizelle Marie shared on Instagram some of the difficulties she has had earning a living wage in a NYC strip club. “I’m so sick of seeing my fellow dancers in New York complain about deserving what is supposed to be theirs” she says in the post, using the hashtag #NYCStripperStrike.
Users of the hashtag claim that dancers with dark-skin are discriminated against by not being permitted to dance during high-earning nights, such as parties hosted by celebrities. They also claim that club owners are either not allowing the darker-skinned dancers to dance on those nights at all, or banning them from the VIP areas where they would be able to earn more money.
Another issue for the dancers in New York City, according to Gizelle, is that in the past several years club owners and promoters have stopped hiring bartenders and instead bring women in with a large social media following to help attract more customers. Bartenders tend to be dressed similarly to the dancers, and this has led to some confusion over tipping. In New York both dancers and bartenders rely heavily on tips, and because bartenders and strippers often work in very close proximity this can lead to dispute about who gets the money from customers. Some dancers claim that bartenders have taken their money off of the dancing stage.
— U Are Vicious (@axolROSE) October 25, 2017
Although some have depicted this as a ‘catfight’ between dancers and bartenders, dancers have stressed that they don’t want to deny the bartenders the right to work and make money – they just want to put pressure on the clubs to ensure that the system is made fair. Model and dancer Casci Sade posted a video on her Instagram explaining the situation, saying “I repeat I am not hatin! But these are bartenders. On stage! How are we supposed to make money. You on our set. We don’t go behind your bar and make drinks. The clubs allow this behaviour. We just want professional courtesy!”
This isn’t the first time that strippers in New York have asserted their right to a fair wage. In 2013 dancers at one NYC strip club successfully claimed over a million dollars in compensation after a federal court judge ruled that they had been paid unfairly.