4 Aug 2016

Stripper says Chiefs players touched, scared her

12:33 pm on 4 August 2016

A stripper hired by the Chiefs rugby team for their end-of-season celebration says the players were drunk, swore at her and touched her inappropriately.

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Photo: Photosport

The stripper, who only wants to be known as Scarlette, said she felt as if she could not stop her performance in the bar at a Waikato hot pool, where the players gathered for a post-season celebration.

"I made it very clear that I didn't want to be touched, even though I had a smile on my face it doesn't affect the words coming out of your mouth - that was just me maintaining my professionalism, trying to get out of there safely."

She said the job was supposed to include one hour waitressing and then a strip performance.

She said there were no staff present during the strip from either Chiefs management or the hot pools, and afterwards she was asked to do the waitressing and she said she could stay if they settled down.

"Which they didn't. Things escalated. 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 some of the players were "beyond drunk" when she arrived for the performance in the garden bar at the Ōkoroire hot pools, near Matamata.

"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."

They also threw gravel and chanted lewdly at her, she said.

Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman publicly expressed his disappointment that some players hired a stripper, saying management would have prevented it if they had known, but he questioned allegations the players behaved inappropriately toward her.

"You have got to remember this is one person's accusation and her standing in the community and culpability is not beyond reproach," Mr Flexman told Stuff.

He later said at a press conference that he had reflected on his comments and regretted them.

He said witnesses said they had not seen any mistreatment, but Scarlette doubted that.

"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."

She said 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 should be investigated as it was not acceptable.

A spokesperson for the Chiefs said they were not at a point to give an interview but were taking the allegations very seriously and were investigating them and trying to find out what actually happened.

The spokesperson said there were some questions about some of the allegations which suggested it was not a simple matter, and they encouraged Scarlette to go to police if she had any concerns.

Scarlette said she did not think, as Mr Flexman had suggested, that it was a bad look for the Chiefs that a stripper had been hired and it was fine that they should celebrate, but said she should be able to speak out about what happened to her.

"Why are they exempt because they're professional sports players? Why am I not allowed to speak out, and why should I accept that that's the norm? It's not [the norm] in my life and it shouldn't be in any other girl's life."

The incident occurred on the same evening that Chiefs player Michael Allardice made a homophobic comment that a man and his partner believe was directed at them. Allardice has apologised but said he was directing the comment in jest at a team mate.

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