The presidential campaign of Pete
Buttigieg canceled a fundraiser at a gay nightclub in Providence,
Rhode Island reportedly over a dancer pole the club owners refused to
remove, angering male pole dancers.
Instead of holding the fundraiser at
the Dark Lady, the campaign held the event at a nearby hotel.
Buck Asprinio, general manager at the
Dark Lady, told local media that the event was canceled after the
Buttigieg campaign asked for the pole to be removed and the owners
“[The pole is] not going anywhere,”
Asprinio said, adding that it is “part of who we are.”
“If you want to dance on a pole,
we're the place to be,” he
Asprinio said that the campaign was
aware that the space included a pole prior to the event. A campaign
spokesperson didn't dispute Asprinio's claim.
Asprinio added that the campaign
offered to compensate the club $400 for the last-minute cancellation
but that he had lost over $1,000.
According to the Washington Blade,
other high-profile elected officials have held events at the Dark
Lady, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former
congressman Barney Frank, who is gay.
Phillip Deal, the founder of Mr. Pole
Dance America, told the Blade that if Buttigieg wants the gay
vote, he needs to embrace gay culture.
“If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie
Sanders were invited to visit the Dark Lady, I don’t think either
one would bat an eye about it,” Deal
said. “This points to a bigger issue in the LGBT community,
which is young gay people don’t know our history and that’s a
serious problem. LGBTQ people died for the right to walk into a bar,
dance, and hold hands with their lovers without having to fear police
brutality. If Pete Buttigieg does not want to embrace our glorious
gay culture, he doesn’t need the gay vote.”
Buttigieg was elected to a
recently-ended second term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana after
announcing he is gay.