Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Strip club dancers march to defend Spearmint Rhino

Strippers and protesters marched from the Brown Street club to Sheffield Town Hall
Image caption Workers and protesters marched from the Brown Street club to Sheffield Town Hall

Strip club dancers have marched through a city centre to oppose plans to close Spearmint Rhino.

The brightly-dressed protesters stopped traffic in Sheffield city centre, braving driving rain between the Brown Street club and Sheffield Town Hall.

A row has developed over whether to renew Sheffield Spearmint Rhino's licence.

In April, reports claimed private investigators filmed sex acts in the club.

The dancers and supporters, including Sheffield Hallam University women's officer Gabby Willis, told marchers filming of that sort should be classed as "revenge porn".

Ms Willis said she supported the dancers' right to earn money however they choose.

She said: "I think it's really important we stand by women's choice to do that in a safe environment for their job, if they want to."

Asked about the secretly filmed videos, she said: "We don't have any proof they even exist. If they do they are illegal. They constitute revenge porn."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Rachael McCoy said working at the club has "changed my life for the better"

Ms Willis said: "I talk to so many girls from the club, I count them as friends.

"They're all professional, amazing women and even if they weren't, that doesn't mean they should have their rights stripped away to be able to do what they want in peace."

She said she had been in the club - which is next to Sheffield Hallam University's students' union - and she "felt completely safe".

Club worker Rachael McCoy, 37, told protesters: "This is really important to us. This is our livelihoods.

"I'm a single mother. This job helps me feed my children. This job has actually changed my life for the better."

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