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Micky's Owner Claims 30-Day Shut Down Of Gay Club Is Harassment
Micky's in West Hollywood has been shut down by state's Alcoholic Beverage Control board for 30 days over alleged "lewd behavior" and free drinks. And owner Michael Niemeyer thinks the bar is being targeted because of its gay clientele. Micky's is currently closed and will remain as such through Oct. 30, meaning they can open just in time for WeHo's annual Halloween Carnaval. The ABC's reasons for the shut down stem from a 2013 investigation in which the board charged them with 14 counts of lewd conduct and 2 counts of giving away free drinks, according to WEHOville. The lewd conduct apparently refers to contact between go-go dancers and customers, and "over-exposure" on part of the dancers.
The investigation was sparked by a complaint the ABC received in April of 2012. There's some speculation that these complaints are filed by rival bars, rather than by actually offended people. Others seem to think the complaints could be filed by shocked guests to WeHo who aren't used to the kind of entertainment the neighborhood provides.
Niemeyer, who tried to fight the suspension, wrote an editorial published by WEHOVille yesterday in which he said he would make no apologies, and said that the ABC board and police have long harassed gay bars in California. He cites instances in the '60s and '70s and mentions that Halloween was the one day of the year that cross-dressing was allowed. "Our upcoming Halloween celebration didn't begin as a result of city planning and corporate sponsorships. It began as an act of defiance to state and local officials who otherwise banned cross dressing," Niemeyer wrote. He added:
Micky's current license suspension is based on lewd conduct laws that haven’t changed since the 1970s, although certainly cultural norms have. Nude entertainment including photos and other depiction of nudity is forbidden. The statute of David could get one’s license suspension, as could the images on the screens of some customers’ cell phones. Would the state have bar owners stand over every customer’s cell phone to look for and prohibit penis pics? These standards should be determined on a local basis. If San Francisco and West Hollywood want different standards than West Covina and Santa Clarita, those communities should have that choice. Sexual freedom is still important to the LGBT community. It, along with many other things, defines who we are.
Niemeyer says this also results in about 50 people being out of work for a month.
ABC also closed nearby Here Lounge for a month in December of 2013, also for this supposed lewd contact from go-go dancers.
That same month, WEHOville reported on some club no-nos, as mandated by ABC. These 43-year-old regulations include not touching anyone's breasts, butt or genitals—including that of both men and women. It also includes not using or showing or wearing any device that simulates those same parts, or pubic hair. Also excluded is the simulation of sex, masturbation, bestiality, oral sex, or S&M. Another one, which is what Here Lounge was cited for, is that dancers have to be at least 18 inches off the floor and six feet away from customers—which makes it pretty difficult for customers to give the dancers tips.
Richard Grossi, owner of nearby Eleven Nightclub, defended Micky's to WEHOville, saying that West Hollywood is a different community in terms of what the people who live and visit there feel is appropriate.