LA-based stripper Honey Lestrange called out musician Halsey on TikTok this week.
She accused Halsey of preventing her from making money on a night in 2019.
A stripper and activist told Insider the story highlights wider problems in the adult industry.
LA-based stripper Honey Lestrange accused musician Halsey of preventing her from making money at an event in 2019 where she was hired to dance. On Sunday, Lestrange posted a video on TikTok describing her experience working at Hollywood strip club Cheetah’s and racked up over 500,000 views.
In the video, Lestrange said she was one of 37 dancers working at Cheetah’s when Halsey hired the venue to promote her single “Nightmare.” At the time, footage of the event posted by Halsey and other attendees went viral. Lestrange said she felt like a “prop” and the night was “the most humiliating experience of my life.”
Lestrange said she saw the audience was tipping her colleagues a lot, so she was excited for her set to begin. But, Lestrange said, Halsey’s manager cut off her music and pulled her off stage just before her set and Halsey performed instead. Lestrange said that when she got on stage, everyone had started to leave, presumably because the audience thought Halsey’s performance was the finale of the show.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lestrange said none of the dancers knew Halsey was going to perform, and she didn’t acknowledge any of them throughout night. Halsey has not responded to the TikTok, and her representatives did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Lestrange believes Halsey wrecked her opportunity to make a night’s wages, because she was working entirely for tips. Lestrange added that she had paid to perform at the club – a common practice in the industry, meaning that before strippers make tip money, they are working at a loss. Cheetah’s did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The story highlights larger issues faced by adult entertainers
Stacey Clare, a performer, co-founding member of the East London Strippers Collective, told Insider the story highlights several pervasive problems in the adult industry.
“It’s fundamentally an employment rights issue,” Clare told Insider. Strippers are often “self-employed” meaning they must pay to work for tips in each club. Despite the arrangement which may suggest a level of autonomy, Clare said, strippers often find themselves operating at the will of the club they’re at.
Clubs have “all kinds of rules that tell us how to do our jobs,” she added, noting that strippers are often told when to dance, what to wear, and how to behave, without the benefits of being permanently employed.
“Honey’s story is just a small example of how the business doesn’t function in a way that recognizes workers as workers,” Clare said.
Lestrange’s TikTok also highlights a debate around performative activism by celebrities, Clare said, who can show surface levels of support for sex workers and people who work in adult entertainment while still perpetuating harmful industry practices.
“It comes from, I think, a culture where we’re still very much seen as props,” Clare said. “Hopefully there’s a bit more awareness now. Hopefully we can recognize that it’s a job and we should be treated like we’re doing a job.”
Read the original article on Insider