Nanny State

San Antonio Gets Tough on (Butt) Crack

Strippers could be jailed for revealing "the crevice of their buttocks"


Sugar's of San Antonio/Facebook

Police arrested six people at a San Antonio strip club for violating the city's sexually oriented business ordinance. The arrests took place after undercover officers saw two dancers pull down the waistbands of their thongs in a way that revealed "the crevice of their buttocks." Four dancers and two managers from Sugar's Men's Club were charged. Last month, several dancers from another local club, The Vanity Factory, were also arrested for showing too much skin.

San Antonio city code defines nudity as failure "to cover the human anus, genitals, pubic region, and the areola" and semi-nudity as "a state of dress which fails to fully opaquely cover the crevice of the human buttocks, genitals, pubic region, and the post puberty female breast areola." Both are barred in public places. Employees of strip clubs and other "human display establishments" can apply for special licenses to exempt them, but many don't, choosing instead to reveal only as much as "what you find in a Victoria's Secret catalog." As long as dancers keep their tops on and thongs up, clubs don't have to register as sexually oriented businesses—a designation that comes with all sorts of enhanced regulatory requirements and an annual $575 fee. 

But by not doing so, clubs open themselves up to police harassment over the smallest violations, such as dancers briefly lowering their thongs a little. At Sugar's, "officers said the women were exposing too much of their backside. The managers of Sugars were also cuffed for not doing anything to stop it," according to Fox San Antonio.

San Antonio Police said undercover officers will continue to be on the lookout for these violations, which are a Class A Misdemeanor. That means the dancers and managers won't just receive a citation, they could go to jail.

In 2005, the San Antonio City Council banned full-nude strip clubs. Since 2012, when the city amended its human display law to prohibit pasties from counting as enough breast covering, police have made multiple arrests of dancers and club owners for operating as sexually oriented businesses without the right registration papers. More than a dozen strip clubs sued to stop enforcement of the new ordinance, but a U.S. District Judge ruled against them in 2013.

Meanwhile a former male stripper (and army vet), Pogo Allen-Reese, is running for mayor of San Antonio. Dancers at another San Antonio club, Tiffany's Cabaret, are involved in a federal lawsuit accusing the club of failing to comply with federal wage guidelines.