A museum is a ridiculous place to practise censorship. In fact, the art going up at this exhibit is more scandalous than I am!

(Dita Von Teese, Twitter)

The original heading for this post was “Dita Von Teese: Bristol’s Out”, but I decided that this was too lame for a high-minded and serious politico-cultural blog. Or even this one.

Dita Von Teese (a.k.a. Heather Sweet) could be the next Mrs Stainforth if she would only dump that smarmy French count.

Oh, and I’m not making this up. Jack FM is a real radio station.

A row has broken out at Bristol City Council over the appearance of Dita Von Teese at an event at Bristol’s City Museum. The burlesque star was due to perform at the launch party of the Art from the New World exhibition on Friday evening.

The city council says it’s delighted to be hosting the exhibition, which is a mixture of urban and contemporary artists from the new American art scene. The exhibition opens to members of the public on Saturday, May 15. But the appearance of the international star has provoked outrage from equality campaigners and councillors. Bristol’s Labour Party group leader Helen Holland said she was “appalled”, adding in an email to a Bristol resident who complained that, “I would like to know just who in the Council’s officer or political leadership knows about this, and what they were thinking of when they approved it”.

A Bristol City Council legal officer said that the performance did not break regulations concerning equalities, adding that senior members of the council were aware of the performance. But Mrs Holland remains unconvinced.

“I am a gender equality consultant and I have been unable among all my professional colleagues to find a single expert on gender equality who does not agree that this event acts against the interests of women’s equality,” she said. “The Council, unlike private bodies, is bound to consider the impact of its decisions on gender equality. This is not optional: it is enshrined in legislation for a reason. I am appalled and bitterly disappointed at the lack of gender equality awareness demonstrated thus far.”

Campaign group Equality South West told Jack FM: “This amounts to a public body spending public money on the gratuitous debasement of women. Bristol City Council has a legal obligation to promote equality so should be supporting women, not demeaning them. This is a disappointing mistake by Bristol City Council, and we sincerely hope they change their mind and stop the stripper from attending.”


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