City Judge Russell Bean Throws Out Chippendale Male Stripper Case

Monday, November 22, 2004

City Court Judge Russell Bean on Monday afternoon dismissed charges that a Brainerd Road club violated adult-oriented establishment ordinances with the recent Chippendale male stripper show.

Judge Bean said Chippendales had performed elsewhere here and he said the nightclub that was charged - Christopher’s - had a recent Miss Hawaiian Tropic Show. He said other local clubs have wet t-shirt contests.

The judge said, "I don't believe this man intended to break the law."

He said Christopher’s will still have to contend with the City Beer Board and the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The city said clubs that serve alcoholic beverages cannot have adult-oriented shows. Two undercover female police officers said the Chippendale dancers wore only skimpy underwear while straddling women who came up on the stage and sat in chairs. They said the dancers also went out into the audience where they were groped by women.

Owner Christopher Edwards said the Chippendales appeared at the Chattanooga Choo Choo in 1999 and at the Paradise Club twice in 2002. He said the event at his club was advertised for a month ahead of time, including a full page on the back of the local Enigma magazine.

He said vice squad officers shut down the show at his club 30 minutes before it was over causing a near riot among the more than 250 women attending.

A default judgment was put down against the eight dancers, who chose not to appear in court. They are currently performing in Canada.

One of the undercover officers made a tape of the show, but it was blurry and difficult to see. Portions of it were shown in court.

Judge Bean said he was "quite frankly bored" by the parts he watched. He said it seemed "somewhat silly." He added, "But I'm a 60-year-old male not a 30-year-old female."

He said it wasn't a violation for the male dancers to be topless, saying that's common at gyms and on the beach.

Attorney Bill Pope said it was "ridiculous" for the city to talk about male dancers wearing pasties.

And he said in other local clubs "there is all kinds of dirty dancing and bump and grind. They get down and dirty."

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