COUNTY NEWS: Lap-dancing club comes under fire for '˜distasteful' billboard

A Sussex lap-dancing club has come under fire for its use of mobile billboards.

The ads have come under fire from the Bexhill and Battle Labour Party Womens Forum
The ads have come under fire from the Bexhill and Battle Labour Party Womens Forum

For the last few months, adverts for Hastings-based Club XS have been parked around 1066 Country, with reports of the billboards being seen in Icklesham and Bexhill, as well as Hastings and St Leonards.

Since their appearance, the ads have been criticised by several residents, including members of the Bexhill and Battle Labour Party Women’s Forum.

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Women’s officer Anne Ruzylo said: “At this time of year, Bexhill has many tourists coming into the town and inevitably, many of them too will have seen these degrading ads at the side of the road.

“Posters like these not only leave a distinctly nasty taste in the mouth but also bring the entire area into disrepute at a time when we need all the visitors we can get.”

Forum spokesperson Ginny Matthews added: “This is a sleazy and distasteful ad which perpetuates the same old stale and discredited message: that women’s bodies are no more than commodities to be bought and sold for the gratification of men. Apologists for lap-dancing clubs are notoriously keen to portray them as nothing more than good, clean fun but the truth is that this so-called ‘industry’ has long-established links with prostitution, trafficking and sheer human misery.

“However hard this back street club tries to normalise its activities, Club XS is not a mainstream business for the vast majority of the residents of Bexhill and Hastings and has no place promoting itself alongside everyday health, motoring or retail brands.”

In response to the criticism, Club XS managing director Peter Eldridge said: “In this day and age it is hardly a vulgarity to show a picture of a girl in a bikini on an advert, especially when one considers what is, unfortunately, easily obtainable on the internet.

“Quite clearly, once again this has been used to take umbrage with the club by someone who is ill informed, has not bothered to research our business.

“I can assure you that all of our self-employed dancers attend the club because they wish to and indeed very much enjoy what they do. We are in no way connected to trafficking or prostitution and in fact, if one of our staff even takes a phone number from a customer they are dismissed. We operate under very strict guidelines set by the council’s highly efficient licencing department and are happy to do so.”