Testifying before a British parliamentary commission last week, Simon Warr insisted that additional regulation of the industry he and his colleagues operate is unnecessary, and that most people just don't understand what their business is really all about.
According to its website, the LDA is "the national trade body dedicated to representing the specific needs and concerns of lap dancing, table dancing and gentlemen's clubs." It's name doesn't really seem to capture that, but this group was formerly called the "Association of Lap Dancing Operators," so I guess the new name is an improvement.
Anyway, Warr was testifying in an effort to convince members of Parliament that they should not reclassify lap-dance clubs for licensing purposes. Currently, they are licensed like pubs, but the proposed changes would make them "sex encounter establishments," a category currently defined as "venues where visual entertainment for sexual stimulation takes place."
But you've got us all wrong, Warr told the committee. "One of the biggest problems we face is that not enough people understand the business blueprint of our clubs," he said. "Actually, our premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan if they were."
According to the article, this claim was "greeted with skepticism."
"You are saying that the purpose of a lap dancing club is not to be sexually stimulating?," replied MP Philip Davies. "Most people would find that a rather incredible claim."
"Then you need to go to a club," Warr responded, unwisely calling Davies' bluff. The purpose of a club, Warr said, is to provide "entertainment," "leisure," and/or "hospitality." I guess I would agree with that, as far as it goes -- but what about the fact that the hospitality involves hosting a naked guest in your lap? Warr stuck to his story. "[T]he entertainment may be in the form of nude or semi-nude performers," he said,"but it's not sexually stimulating," Warr said. "You must have a lot of unhappy customers," Davies responded.
Peter Stringfellow, a club owner, then chimed in to help, which he did by directly contradicting Warr. "Of course it's sexually stimulating," he said. "So is a disco. So is a little girl flashing away with her knickers showing." (Say what now?) "So is David Beckham . . . . So are the Chippendales. Of course it does have some form of sex." (Maybe "help" was not the right word.") "[W]hat my colleague was trying to explain," Stringfellow continued," was that it's not sex, 100%. It's not 'I'm going to go and get divorced.' It does not go on like that. Our environment lasts three minutes. Their clothes are on and off before you can blink." Well, thanks for coming. I think we have all the testimony we need.
Despite this compelling testimony by LDA members, Parliament is expected to amend the law to give local communities greater control over whether and how lap dance clubs operate.