Friday, May 11, 2012

Ecdysiast/Journalist Sues Daily for Stripping Her of Her Job

Houston Chronicle headquarters EspaƱol: La sed... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Short-time society reporter and part-time exotic dancer Sarah Tressler has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against The Houston Chronicle, which she claims terminated her after learning about her second job.

According to accounts by The New York Daily News and Associated Press, Tressler, a New York University journalism graduate who is represented by attorney to the stars Gloria Allred, worked for the Chronicle, for whom she previously freelanced, from January until March of this year as a society reporter.  She alleges that after a weekly newspaper reported that she worked as a stripper, the Chronicle dismissed her.

According to the news articles, Tressler said she did not include her dancing experience on her resume or Chronicle job application because it was never a full-time job. Tressler maintains a Facebook page titled "Diary of an Angry Stripper," and has both a "DAS" app and a book in the works.

Attorney Allred was quick to note that her 30-year-old client was not engaged in any unlawful activity and that her clothes shedding to music did not interfere with her duties as a journalist. It remains to be seen whether the EEOC will reconcile Tressler writing about polls as a journalist and writhing around poles as a stripper.
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  1. I'm conflicted on this one. Aside from your charming wordplay, it raises interesting principles.

    I attempted to locate and read some of Ms. Tressler's work online, but found only one article she co-wrote. The article wasn't reporting per se, but rather an informative list.

    I wonder whether The Chronicle would have overlooked Ms. Tressler's second job were she an outstanding journalist (perhaps she is, I raise it only as a possible factor); and would they have reacted similarly were it a male journalist instead? I understand males strip, too. :)

    Doubt the Chronicle will cite her second job, or heaven-forbid, stripping, in their defense, avoiding the morality aspect at all costs. That will be unfortunate for the principle involved.

    Morality is still too much in play in a secular society, especially for those lacking power.

    1. It's deceptively easy to cast Ms. Tressler as an innocent victim (i.e.,"there was no box on the job app marked 'stripper' for me to check..."), but her Angry Stripper Web site & upcoming book reveal her underlying cynicism/opportunism. Hiring Allred is a problem, too. Allred is correct that stripping is not a crime, but being a procurer is, which should give her pause. Allred is a self-promoter who hoped to cash in on Tressler's 15 minutes of fame, but may have arrived 14.5 minutes into it. A journalist is always the "face" of the publication for which she works, which is why publications fear a journalist's outside activities--political, social, employment--could compromise the publication's neutrality/objectivity. The Chronicle doesn't want to employ a stripper; I don't believe it's gender discrimination--if she were a he and a Chippendale dancer, same result. No sense employing a stripper when already too many reporters are prostitutes or assassins for hire.

  2. Not sure about your last sentence -- I'm still reeling from it -- but appreciate all your other points.

    I agree with your characterization of attorney Allred. It's unfortunate she often defends worthy principles wrapped in tainted packaging. As with journalists, her legal "face" literally and figuratively compromises her cases.

    Thanks for your response. I always learn from you. Your students are very lucky.

    I keep hoping to see you on Beat the Press one of these Friday nights.

  3. Nice share Sheldon, thank you

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