September 18, 2008
Topless Midget Wrestling Draws Fire From Canton City Officials. Suspends Establishment’s Liquor License In Retaliation
Canton, Illinois (The Weekly Vice) -- A Canton, Illinois business will lose it's liquor license for 60 days after city officials say two topless women wrestled at a "midget wrestling event" held last month at a local bar and grill.
Outskirts Bar and Grill, located at 725 W. Locust st. in Canton, lost it's privilege to sell alcohol after the city liquor commission voted to yank it's liquor license on Wednesday.
Canton city liquor ordinances prohibit nudity.
The establishment's owner, Kim Scott complained that the decision was unfair, citing that she had a contract with a group of male wrestlers to perform (Micro Wrestling Federation) - not topless female wrestlers. Scott said that two women oiled up and began to wrestle while she was outside smoking and that she stopped the match just as soon as she became aware of the activity.
"The match didn't last very long, maybe four or five minutes," said Scott. "It was not intentional. Would I let it happen? No."
Mayor and liquor commissioner, Kevin Meade said the liquor commission's vote was "meant to send a message to other businesses in town that this won't be tolerated."
Outskirts Grill and Bar is licensed as a supper club establishment, which must limit it's liquor sales to no more than 40% of total revenue. Kevin Meade questioned the business' adherence to that requirement, stating "everything I see going on out there is a bar."
Scott's attorney, Aaron Wickenhauser, said Scott plans to appeal the decision to the State Liquor Commission.
"I have bartenders with families," said Scott. "They just lost their jobs."
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
Well, what do you all think about this little controversy? We agree that liquor laws have to be upheld, lest there be eventual chaos in some instances, but we have to question where the blame is being placed. Where is the entertainment group's blame here?
What do you think of the fact that a town's Mayor is also the liquor commissioner? Balance of power issue perhaps?
Well my take is this. The law is the law and like it or not, this form of entertainment is currently banned. But it's also my opinion that the business owner took appropriate measures to get the activity stopped just as soon as she became aware of it - and no one has yet disputed that she did.
That being the case, there is no proof that the business took any kind of illegal action and in fact only took action to stop an illegal act from taking place. In my view, the entertainment crew acted inappropriately and the business got that activity stopped within a few minutes.
Perhaps if the liquor commission wasn't being headed up by the Mayor's office, a truly healthy debate about that point could have been explored. Obviously it wasn't.
Lastly, the the Micro Wrestling Federation website doesn't seem to suggest to me that topless wrestling is an advertised service that a business owner would expect to take place. The group is indeed dominated by male entertainers and seems to be pretty much what Scott expected it to be. I think she should have been given the benefit of the doubt.
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Posted by Danny Vice at 9:24:00 PM