Chiefs scandal: 'They touched me, spat beer all over me'

The Chiefs are embroiled in a stripper scandal. Photo / File
The Chiefs are embroiled in a stripper scandal. Photo / File

A second stripper has come forward with allegations against Chiefs rugby players - claiming they touched her inappropriately and called her a "filthy slut".

The woman, who wanted to be known as Laura, said the alleged incident happened when she performed for the sports team at their end-of-season party last year.

In an interview with MediaWorks she claimed ten different players touched her body inappropriately, including her bottom, despite her telling them not to.

"They were just full on. I was trying to dance and they are all surrounding me and I asked them several times to back off - I need space," she said. "They ended up spitting alcohol, beer all over me.

"I'm trying to dance and they're in a tight circle and I can't move - everyone in that circle's just grabbing, just putting their hands in."

She told the broadcaster players called her names, including "filthy slut".

After three songs Laura said she'd had enough and left as "quickly as possible".

Police have met with the woman but wouldn't comment as to whether charges had been laid, in the latest case.

The Chiefs have been approached for comment on the latest allegations, which follow one made public yesterday evening.

The first complainant, a woman who worked as a stripper under the name Scarlette, spoke of a similar experience at an end-of-season celebration with the Chiefs this week.

She claimed the players touched and licked her without consent at the event, threw gravel at her, chanted lewdly and asked her to be a "whore".

Scarlette told Radio New Zealand she'd been hired to do one-hour waitressing, then a strip performance at the Okoroire hot pools, but things quickly escalated.

She said a number of the players were "beyond drunk" when she arrived.

"Basically, they wanted me to be a whore, which I wasn't there to be. And when I went to collect payment they short-changed me and basically just made it very hostile and I had to leave immediately, because I was quite upset.

She said she'd made it clear from the start that she didn't want to be touched.

"Even though I had a smile on my face it doesn't affect the words coming out of [my] mouth - that was just me maintaining my professionalism, trying to get out of there safely."

She said no Chiefs management or hot-pool staff were present during the strip and afterwards she was asked to do the waitressing.

Scarlette said she was prepared to stay if they settled down, "which they didn't".

"I was on my own there so you would think they would see that I was one woman walking into a group of - I mean, I don't know how many of the rugby team but there were a lot of people there."

She said it was an intimidating job but the players had no respect.

"I had one of the players going through my phone."

Scarlette refuted the Chiefs comments that some witnesses hadn't seen any mistreatment.

"Well, then they weren't looking, were they? I mean, that's where it turns into a 'he said, she said' part of the argument, which I believe is present in any case of sexual abuse, anything like that.

"If my word means nothing, then so does every other woman's word that's ever said anything against someone."

Scarlette told the radio broadcaster she hesitated to go to police because she had approached them in the past and it was not a good experience.

"They don't treat you very well so I just shy away from them a bit."

However, she said the incident with the Chiefs should be investigated as it was not acceptable.

A prominent exotic dancer says if the allegations are true, Chiefs players did break dancing etiquette during a stripper's performance.

Lisa Lewis told Newstalk ZB's Rachel Smalley touching is only ever allowed if the stripper gives consent.

She said touching of genitalia is only allowed with escorts or prostitutes, not during stripping.

She said stripping generally isn't supposed to lead to a sexual service and that's a really important point to make for the sake of other dancers.

Police spokesman Ross Henderson said the woman, who was hired as a stripper for "Mad Monday" celebrations had been offered the "appropriate support, including providing further information and advice".

The owner of the adult entertainment service where Scarlette worked said she was unlikely to book any of her staff with the Chiefs in the future.

Strippers R Us owner Rachael Kirk said the Monday job had been booked with Scarlette directly, and her company would be "more vigilant".

"I don't think we'd accept a booking with the Chiefs again," she said. "I'm pretty offended by it, I mean no, means no."

Kirk said the rules were fairly clear and every client was given an A4 page of what was okay and what was not - amongst this the no touching policy.

She was disappointed to hear Scarlette had agreed to let someone lick a body part for $50 on top of her $100 fee.

Other media had reported the woman had agreed for the indecent act to be performed at the extra cost.

However, the player allegedly pushed her roughly onto the ground in order to do it - upon which the other players surrounded her and the situation escalated.

In the end Scarlette reported she left with just $100 - $50 less than what had been agreed upon.

Kirk said she'd be discussing the situation with Scarlette once things had settled.

"I'm going to let things cool down, and take things from there," she said. "We are entertainers, it's not, 'give me fifty bucks and I'll do this'. We just don't do those extras."

Kirk said the incident has made her think about how the industry could do things better.

"We have to look at what's gone wrong and not walk away unchanged from this."

Among the potential changes she was considering, included hiring protection for her staff and making the rules and consequences clearer.

Kirk was not aware of the incident with another stripper last year.

Meanwhile, Gallagher Group corporate services executive Margaret Comer has apologised for appearing to brush off the scandal.

Comer, who is a trustee on the board of Waikato Women's Refuge, had earlier been reported for saying she was "reluctant to say that the boys were out of line".

"If a woman takes her clothes off and walks around in a group of men, what are we supposed to do if one of them tries to touch her," she'd told Fairfax.

But today, she's expressed her regret at her "poor choice of words".

"I am even more regretful given that I have always been passionate about championing causes and organisations that improve our communities both professionally on behalf of Gallagher's philanthropic efforts and personally on a number of not-for-profit boards.

"I most definitely do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women and am extremely regretful that my words yesterday do not reflect the high standard I expect of myself and those I am associated with."

Gallagher Group has also issued a statement saying it firmly believed in equal, fair treatment of women and did not condone any kind of behaviour to the contrary.

In a statement, Waikato Women's Refuge Te Whakaruruhau chief executive Roni Albert apologised to the woman involved in this week's incident, and the harm done by coverage following Comer's comments.

"We fully understand the gravity of the situation and your absolute right to have full access to justice without condemnation or any undermining of your situation," she said.

However, the trust stopped short of reprimanding Comer for her comments.

"To our sister Margaret Comer, we know you to be a woman with a commitment to create change on behalf of all women, to be honest, open and to operate with enormous integrity," Albert said.

"We thank you for your heartfelt and sincere apology released earlier today."

The statement criticised the Chiefs players' alleged behaviour.

"To the men who were involved in this incident we would like you to know that we believe the behaviour to be reprehensible and that you have a responsibility to ensure that it never happens again.

"It is not time to hide or point the finger but to stand up as the brothers, fathers and sons we know you to be and to redress this wrong."

- NZ Herald

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