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Stormy Daniels protests ‘pole tax’ in Springfield

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Stormy Daniels
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

SPRINGFIELD — Adult film star Stormy Daniels came to a protest against Illinois’ Live Adult Entertainment Surcharge with about 20 other people from Springfield and MetroEast strip clubs on Friday.

The State Journal-Register reported that the Live Adult Entertainment Surcharge, or pole tax, went into effect in 2013 and imposes a surcharge on strip clubs that serve alcohol or permit drinking. It can be $3 per patron or a flat annual amount ranging between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on how much money the club takes in. Daniels said in a short speech that the tax “ultimately takes money out of the G-strings of hardworking dancers.”

From the Journal-Register:

Daniels noted the surcharge was put in place to help fund rape crisis centers. And while she says that’s admirable, the fact that it’s being done through a tax on adult entertainers “is rich with irony.”

“Funding rape crisis centers by taxing strippers, mostly young women often young mothers, is simply cowardice and wrong,” she said.

Daniels said there is no evidence linking strip clubs and strippers to rapes.

“There is, however, lots of evidence linking clergy, especially the Catholic Church, to rape, so where’s their tax?” she asked.

The women behind Daniels, who work at Deja Vu, the adult entertainment club in Springfield, and The Larry Flynt Hustler Club in Washington Park, Illinois, were holding up signs that read “Fix real crime, not strip clubs,” “We are not victims” and “Keep your laws off my body.”

Carrie Ward, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the newspaper she was aware of Friday’s protest, and had tried to reach out to Daniels and her representatives. She said the money provides prevention and education services for all kinds of audiences and to crisis intervention services, including for survivors of sexual assault.

“We really have found these funds to be very helpful,” Ward told the Journal-Register. “Rape crisis centers never have all the money they need. These dollars are appreciated. They are being appropriated correctly, allocated correctly and used correctly.”

Vee Chitalu, a dancer at the Hustler Club, told the paper she didn’t like connecting strip clubs with rape.

“This job empowers us and gets us to where we can get on our own two feet and we don’t have to rely on somebody,” she said.

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