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Reporters, Fight for Your Right...to Strip?
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Layoffs. Consolidation. Lack of sales. And that new-fangled Internet thingy. These are among the reasons newspapers have experienced a terrible demise. And then there's the reporters. 

Many flacks have relationships with these writers, editors, and journalists. We feel their pain. In fact, some of the battered and bruised in our beloved profession are the formerly laid off, consolidated victims of the Intertube. 

That said, meet Sarah Tressler

This now-former reporter from the Houston Chronicle announced last week that she filed a federal gender discrimination complaint with the EEOC against her once employer because she failed to disclose that she moonlighted as a stripper. And to prove her angst (or need to get her story in the national spotlight), she hired celebrity attorney and soldier of sisterhood, Gloria Allred. 

"I was very upset that I was fired because I had been told by many editors that I was doing a good job ... There was no question on the form that covered my dancing. I answered the questions on the form honestly," Tressler said in a statement.

And that wasn't all the pontificating she did about her quest for the almighty dollar (bill). She also wrote a blog cleverly entitled "Diary of an Angry Stripper," in which she described her life at the club. So there's that. 

In the one-page EEOC complaint submitted by Allred, Tressler alleges she was canned because "my prior activity as an adult dancer was not disclosed when I applied for the job. I believe that the stated reason for my termination was pretextual in that I answered the questions that were put to me truthfully in connection with my application for employment. The true reason for my termination was discrimination on account of my gender." 

So, perhaps it's the cynic in me. Maybe it's the healthy pragmatist. However, I have a thought... you're a stripper

Ms. Allred, men can be strippers and escort too. And trust me, if I was the publisher of a paper and some sports guy was moonlighting at La Bare, guess who would find out that McDonald's was hiring? Not just any guy...but THAT guy. 

Sure, it's a real shame that reporters have to consider taking on another job because of the economy, let alone that job. However, if you are let go working at a paper when word gets out about...well, how remarkably flexible you are...it's safe to assume whether you have outdoor plumbing or not has less to do with you losing the gig than whether you actually dress like a plumber who works on a pole.

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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