Not So Fast: Wild Orchid Manager Responds to Awaken’s Executive Director

wild orchid digital signBy Ken Bell

The article (by Melissa Holland of Awaken, published on ThisisReno) is not only full of half-truths and lies, it misquotes statistical data and twists it to show a side that does not really exist.

First, as the manager of the Wild Orchid we have offered to let Mrs. Holland to come and speak to the girls whenever she had time. We have offered to advertise her organization on our digital sign. Every time these offers have been extended her only response is to give her money for her organization. She does not want to talk to the girls or have her organization advertised alongside other midtown businesses and non-profit charities. She just wants to extort money.

Second, according to the city maps, no adult business is “legally” zoned. But according to the law, all the clubs are legally zoned since they went through the proper channels and appropriate application processes to receive permits to operate in their current locations. Proof that members of the city planning staff and Reno Police Department (RPD) believe that strip clubs are beneficial to the city can be found by looking at the August 1st, 2012 city planning meeting regarding Ed’s Knockouts where the same people who wrote the proposed regulations said the strip clubs have the same amount or less problems than bars located in nicer neighborhoods. Our crime rate was equal or less than Silver Peak’s downtown location. And we are open many more hours at night when the crime rate is higher.

Third, when questioned in the past, Mrs. Holland has stated that no girls she has interacted with had come from the Strip Clubs in Reno, but now, when it is convenient, two “unnamed” girls come forward. If there is any truth to their stories, which I doubt since clubs are so tightly regulated, these girls entered into the clubs illegally with fake ID’s and illegally obtained business licenses through the state and city to work in the clubs while the rest of their underaged sisters are walking up and down on fourth street, engaging in unprotected sex with drive by strangers, and are usually beaten regularly—things that never, never, never can happen inside one of the clubs in Reno.

Fourth, the constitution says you can’t eliminate the clubs, so at best, the City can only entice them to move locations. The several locations proposed by the city council are actually located across the street from schools and all of them are closer to schools and parks than any club is located now. So if the purpose of zoning is to put all the adult businesses in an appropriate place, then downtown in their present locations, near other adult businesses like casinos and bars, since a far better choice than moving them to a suburban venue—and the police can enforce the laws more effectively if the all the adult businesses are concentrated downtown.

Fifth as reported in the National Human Trafficking Resource Center only 3 cases of sex trafficking in the past 3 years have come out of any strip clubs in Nevada– not just Reno, that is ALL of Nevada. That is a low to zero score compared to other businesses.

Lastly, as for the secondary effects studies, critics keep citing studies from the 1980’s or earlier and the ones that are more recent come from places that conduct the studies on locations with new strip clubs put into remote locations with little to no police presence. The studies do not cover a club with 2 DECADES of existing data showing little to no violent crimes or sexual assaults as is the case for the Reno clubs. No murders which have occurred in these Reno clubs while there are plenty in other bars and nightclubs in Reno.

Why are we are the villains here? Is it because we give women a place to exercise their first amendment rights and an opportunity to make more money than other women, even those with college degrees? Do we want to have the government regulate morality? If so, are you prepared someday to accept adopting Sharia law and demanding woman wear barakahs outside the home.

The funny thing about all these secondary effects is government tried to ban playing music on the grounds it incited violence. From Elis to heavy metal to today’s most radical musical group, the authorities produced studies showing it disturbed our youth, and incited violence. Sorry, but we don’t live in a country that tells other people what they can read, or hear or see. If we take away the right of a dancer to perform without a top, then we should ban the ballet because the costumes are too revealing, and prevent Madonna from performing because of the gay/ BDSM undertones of her performances.

No one is forcing anyone to pay the cover charge to go into a strip club, or to pay the “buy in” to work as a performer there? So why should anyone care? Who are we protecting? And why are we letting other people tell us what we can see and do in America?

Ken Bell is manager of Wild Orchid.

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11 Comments

  1. I have a business in Midtown and I get to look at the Wild Orchid everyday ..lucky me ….I am a women that runs a kickboxing gym ….that’s how you empower women not buy employing them to take their clothes off for drunks . I feel I can actually speak to this lifestyle because I have witnessed it first hand . I worked in one as a bartender and I lasted a week . It was seedy and disgusting no matter what it looked like from the outside . It’s degrading for both men and women and just feeds the sick culture we have regarding sex . Those women are usually not women at all but young girls . Move that crap to the desert no we don’t have to look at it . It’s not good for Reno when we are supposedly trying to clean up the midtown downtown area .

    • So if you have a problem with it why did YOU put your business next to it? so if I buy the house next to yours and don’t like you I can force you to move?

  2. opinions, venting, facts, half truths and frustrations from both sides. Another opinion: I believe, each and every person whether viewing, preforming, looking at a promotional sign etc has an right to make their own decision. Period. Having said this, I work within the realm of Alcoholics Anonymous AND NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS. I attempt to offer solutions to MANY women and “girls, girls, girls” who have worked long term and short term at this club. 90% of these amazing, smart women are heroin users and addicted to “black”. I wonder, how much support is offered to the “girl” still suffering from addiction and is it generally overlooked? Bare breasts dancing in a black light tend to mask the ugliness and reality of addiction. Something in my OPINION rampantly out of control within this industry and Reno in general.

  3. No one forced these women to work in the clubs and they make decent money because people enjoy going to there! I’ll never understand these women who defend other women who 1) don’t need defending and 2) didn’t ask for your opinion. It just seems like you’re forcing your own issues (like a savior complex) on women who don’t agree – and in doing so you insinuate that these women don’t know how troubled they truly are. Isn’t it so great that you can help them! Pffft. Leave the clubs where they are. This is Reno and we appreciate them as part of our town. Get a lap dance and chill out, Holland lady.

  4. I agree with the article. It is a freedom that we all share. If these girls wanted to be there and the guys Wanted to pay for it, it should be allowed. The constitution says nothing about defending the people who want to do something of there own free will. You cannot make someone do something they don’t want to do. Although I personally will never enter a strip club, it is a choice of consenting adults to do so. I believe that as a city we should be defending a business that harms no one and keeps these girls off the streets doing work that is illegal and even more morally wrong.

  5. This opinion grown increasingly unhinged further towards its end.
    “Sharia Law”, really?!?
    However, the owner of Wild Orchid here does point out how the city stance is replete with hypocrisy in a city awash with alcohol-fueled mayhem and crime that never, ever is denied any permit or approval for more.
    A thesis here indeed is true that outside commercial forces really just want that primo land for a car parking lot or some more unaffordable housing to keep up the neighborhood gentrification.

  6. The only governmental limit on free expression is, and ought to be, the “clear and present danger of immediate physical harm,” and not some vague “bad tendencies” test which this country abandoned from England more than a century ago. If no one leaves the strip club physically harmed by what goes on there, then the government has no right to regulate it. The Casinos next door often offer provocative dance shows, sometimes topless. The cable and satellite television carry pay for view actual pornography. When people get tired of seeing this form of entertainment they will stop paying for it and it will go away by itself. Until then, government needs to stop harassing those who enjoy it, or make their living from others willing to pay to see it.

  7. Mr. Bell,

    Several rebuttals may be offered to your points above.

    First, responding to your subtle invitations to complicity with a request for a donation does not constitute extortion. If the end goal for Awaken was fundraising wouldn’t they have jumped upon your offer of free advertising?

    Second, a five-year-old statement of the facts surrounding the frequency of crime around strip clubs at that time in 2012 is not in any way, shape or form the same as stating that “strip clubs are beneficial to the city.” Stating that crime rates at that time were lower at strip clubs than other establishments is not patent approval or celebration of strip clubs nor is it a statement about the so-called benefits of strip clubs (which, by the way, are what?). If I were to say “cancer kills less people than AIDS” I would not be stating that cancer is a benefit to people.

    If you were to propose even five benefits of strip clubs, what would they be?
    Statistically speaking, 85% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children
    (see Chudakov, B., Ilian, K., & Belmaker, R. H. (2002). The motivation & mental health of sex workers. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 28, 305-315.)

    The fact that your club in particular does not advertise the nudity of adult women but unashamedly advertises the nudity of “GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS” should be reason for every able-minded adult to pause and reflect upon the above-mentioned statistic.

    Third, hypocritically you begin your piece with an accusation concerning the “half-truths and lies” of Holland’s piece and yet, in your very own third point, offer up just such half-truths and lies. Your former employees (dancers and otherwise), statistics, and the testimonies of law enforcement patently disagree with your statement that sex acts and beatings “never, never, never” occur inside Reno strip clubs.

    In response to your trickling relegation into fear-mongering at the end of your piece I offer this:

    Morality is not a privately-defined, individually-invented, emotionally-wrought suppression of freedom. In your appeals to the First Amendment you conveniently remove the text from the framework within which it was drafted. There are certain assumptions upon which the First Amendment stands (such as the explicitly-stated purposes of the constitution: the promotion of general welfare, the establishment of justice, and the securing of blessings). Implicit in your question, “Do we want to have the government regulate morality?” is the assumption that we, the readers, are required to share your morality and your views of freedom. All of the sudden, you and your fellow strip club proponents are the standard and barometer for morality and freedom. You want us to respond with a resounding “No!” to governmental regulation of morality but to do so would be to vomit upon the First Amendment and the rest of the freedom-establishing founding documents.

    Freedom was never meant to be defined as an existence without restraint (as you have attempted to do). Restraint, regulations and restrictions placed upon certain behaviors produce the fertile ground from which freedom grows and flourishes. If I suddenly have the desire to murder someone it does not follow that freedom makes a demand upon society to allow me to murder. That something abhorrent such as murder is prohibited ensures a greater degree of freedom. How? Because my desires in this instance are harmful and should therefore not be given free reign, no matter how restricted I feel by such regulations.

    So what you have to answer is the plethora of factual evidence which sociology, biology, jurisprudence, history, ethics, and experience all bear witness to: that your business and all others like it are both harmful in and of themselves and are a source of secondary harmful effects.

  8. Referring to them as “girls” is so creepy. Also, stop pretending you’re some great defender of women. You’re just another dude exploiting their labor. Why did I even read this.

    • t.m. what are you so worried about? clearly you have some underlying issue or you would not have read or bothered to leave a response…in addition to that what are you hiding behind those initials? me? not scared: Scotty Smith.

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