Is a Crime Wave Dancing Through Strip Clubs?
This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, there are an estimated 3,800 strip clubs in America right now employing more than half a million Americans. But some say the billion dollar industry is a crime wave.
Joining us now from Las Vegas is Brent Jordan, who worked as a bouncer in the strip business for 20 years. He's the author of the new book "Stripped."
The mayor of Seattle, Greg Nichols, said flat out that organized crime has infiltrated these strip clubs in his city. And here in New York there's been organized crime allegedly shaking down the strip club owners for protection money, extortion — things like that. Is that common?
BRENT JORDAN, AUTHOR, "STRIPPED": Sir, I don't believe it's as common as people think it is.
The strip clubs have become very corporate over the last 20 years. They're these huge organizations. Now, you have to understand, there's something called Operation G-Sting happened out here in Las Vegas, where the FBI put an undercover snitch in one of the clubs for two years, the club I worked at, as my head of security.
The FBI used the Patriot Act to gain access to everything. The snitch was wired. And after those two years they caught no organized crime. They caught no drug dealing. What they caught was city officials extorting money from the club owner to not change rules about the club. This is what they caught after two years.
O'REILLY: OK. Now so you're saying you believe the organized crime link is overblown.
JORDAN: I believe it is. Yes, sir, I believe it is far overblown. Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: What kind of crime did you see on the floor in these clubs?
JORDAN: Well, mostly because it's corporate, you are going to see the white-collar crime. You're going to see the tax evasion because it is a cash business. You're going to see the fraud and the bribing of city officials.
But you're also going to see things like strong-armed robbery and assaults against women. And that's what I did. I was a bouncer, and I dealt with that sort of crime.
O'REILLY: So assaults against — people come into the club, and then they rough up the girls? They get drunk and they rough them up?
JORDAN: Well, and it is something — absolutely –- it is something born of ignorance really. People do not know what a strip club is and what it's not. That's why I wrote "Stripped", which was to try and educate people.
But yes, they will come into the club. They'll think that the stripper is open game, and they will be physically or mentally abusive to this person and they will need to be...
O'REILLY: Yes, and you have to move them out. OK. Now...
JORDAN: Yes, sir.
O'REILLY: …some of these ladies have written books themselves that say a lot of the dancers, a lot of the people who work in this trade, take drugs, drink to excess, some of them are prostitutes in their off hours. Is that true?
JORDAN: Well, sir, you're going to have disgruntled employees in any line of work. And any time one girl is making more money than another girl, she's going to believe that that girl making more money is doing something that she shouldn't be doing. However, I'm not saying that this doesn't go on.
A strip club is a microcosm of society. You will see everything, the best and the worst of humanity, all in eight hours, all within those 10,000 square feet.
O'REILLY: The best of humanity? How can you see the best of humanity in there?!
JORDAN: Well, let me tell you how. OK, for instance, every single strip club employee you'll ever meet, every stripper wants to shake your hand and give you a hug, you personally, because of the work you've done with Jessica's Law. OK, every single one of them. But you cannot say that about every politician, every judge, every governor in this country.
O'REILLY: You know what? I think you're right there, because a lot of these women are abused themselves or have been abused.
JORDAN: Or they have children or they want to have children.
O'REILLY: Right and they have empathy empathy for the kids. I agree with that 100 percent.
But I think the environment itself, it seems to me, is very difficult. It's a difficult psychological environment. And it seems to me that there are a lot of predators who come into these clubs doing things they shouldn't do.
I'll give you the last word.
JORDAN: That is absolutely true, sir. You hit the nail right on the head. It is extremely difficult to put up with the scorn of society to try and support yourself for your family.
Now, these women aren't on welfare. They're not milking off society; they're putting up with the scorn of society for this. And you will get predators coming in. You'll get men who try and take advantage of these entertainers and so forth and so on. So you hit it right on the head, sir. It is very difficult.
O'REILLY: Mr. Jordan, thanks for appearing this evening. We appreciate it.
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