Strip club walks fine ethical line with “Junior’s Amateur Night”

A Vancouver strip club is walking a fine  ethical line by promoting a Junior’s Amateur Night for aspiring  strippers, says a marketing expert.

“Is it bordering on crossing the ethical line? Yes is,” Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor at the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business, said Monday. “Is it legal? Sure it is.”

Danny Filippone, owner of the Penthouse Night Club, said the word ‘junior’ is being used because the annual competition is named after a club manager whose nickname is Junior.

“Junior is really well known throughout downtown,” said Filippone, whose family has owned the well-known downtown haunt for more than 60 years. “I don’t think people know his real name.”

A sign promoting the event on the club’s marquee does not have an apostrophe, suggesting it’s a junior amateur night.

“I was going to change it,” said Filippone. “It should say Junior’s second annual amateur contest.”

The club’s website says Junior’s, as do posters in the club, he said.

Meredith said some patrons will focus on the word junior.

“If your argument hinges on an apostrophe, you are probably pretty close to the ethical line,” Meredith said.

“It’s very clear a lot of people would quickly … concentrate on the word junior. This is about attracting patrons.”

Filippone said the amateur must be at least 19 years old, although he’s had women in their 40s participate.

“Girls are either trying to become a dancer, or they are there on a dare or for the thrill of it,” he said.

The amateur nights are staged every couple of months. There are celebrity judges and first prize is $500.

“We’ve had girls fall off the stage, swing off the pole,” said Filippone. “The girls tend to be cheered on about 10 times more than normal.”

A professional stripper can earn between $1,000 and $3,000 a week, Filippone said.

Earlier this year, the Vancouver School Board said it wouldn’t allow the adult entertainment industry to recruit strippers from within its high schools.

Filippone agrees recruiters should be kept away from schools.

“We’re completely against it,” he said. “I think it’s ridiculous. I see no need for it.”

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