Friday, November 27, 2009

Strip club Newt Nook

Newt Gingrich refused to accept $5,000 in donations from a strip club. The club's owner was also dis-invited from receiving an entrepreneurial award. So, she turned around and donated the money to a Dallas based animal shelter to help build a climate-controlled building to house some of the shelter's dogs, with a particular emphasis on pit bulls. They are naming the building Newt's Nook.

I think this brings up an interesting issue - if you were running a nonprofit, would you say no to donations from organizations that, through their actions, perpetuated questionable activities? I'm not trying to be a prude here, but strip clubs, by their very nature, further the notion that women are objects, that their worth is how much skin they show, and even worse, women are arguably involved in their own self-oppression (though most never admit such a thing).

Perhaps that is not an accessible example. Let's say you worked for a Greyhound rescue group and part of your activities include legislative efforts to shut down racing tracks. Would you accept donations from breeders of racing Greyhounds? Or from tracks themselves? What about a horse racing track or a breeder of racing horses?

I work for a farmed animal sanctuary. Most of our donors are not vegans or even vegetarian. We certainly do not require anyone to adhere to any particular dietary habit in order to support the sanctuary's work. But we would not accept funds from the Milk Advisory Board or the United Egg Producers. We choose to draw a line when it comes to organizations that pursue goals completely opposite of our own and whose funds come from activities against our organization's mission. (Not that either of the aforementioned organizations would ever deign to donate funds to us.)

Where would you draw the line? Or do you think there isn't a line to draw and it doesn't matter who it comes from, as long as the money helps "your" organizations cause?


EmilyS said...

I would take the money, but I wouldn't name the thing after Newt Gingrich, or any other nonsupporter. It's a joke no one will get without extensive explanation; 'I bet they change the name soon

Anonymous said...

Good for you for singling out the United Egg Producers, one of the worst trade groups out there.

The United Egg Producers is a discredited trade organization with a sordid history of consumer fraud and animal cruelty. The “UEP Certified” program allows hens to be confined in cages that provide each animal less space than a sheet of paper to spend her entire life. This standard for battery cage egg production is illegal throughout the European Union, California, and Michigan (all with a phase-out).

pibble said...

Hmmm. This is a tough one. I have to imagine that the women who worked at this strip club (for some unknown reason) wanted to support Newt. And, I would think it was of their own accord to do so.

I agree with you: strip clubs are demeaning, even if the women have chosen that line of work of their own free will. Sad, but true.

Anyway. Newt does have that public image to uphold, so not taking the money was probably the correct thing to do.

The good, or great, news is that the shelter benefitted from Newt's decision.

Our shelter would behave in the same way as your sanctuary. Our business is not to sell indulgences to make people or businesses feel better about what they do, or to give them the excuse in the future to say "we supported XYZ" so that they can win votes or sell more product. Nuh uh.

Even if the public doesn't understand the name Newt's Nook, it will give a good belly laugh to the shelter's staff and volunteers for years to come as they enjoy their new digs!