Petitions and protests: How Kirkcaldy’s strip club sparked huge debate

Anti Sin strip bar protest  (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Anti Sin strip bar protest (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

It’s the topic that has become the talk of the town.

The opening of a new strip club in a nightclub has sparked petitions and counter petitions – and on Monday it even led to two demonstrations in the Town Square.

Town Square - Kirkcaldy - Fife -  Pro Sin strip bar - Ambrose Stanyer-Hunter with Rachel & Abbi  (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)

Town Square - Kirkcaldy - Fife - Pro Sin strip bar - Ambrose Stanyer-Hunter with Rachel & Abbi (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

And that’s before the doors open to Sin, based above Kitty’s nightclub, next week.

• The arguments for and against - where do you stand?

Around 100 people applied for jobs at the club, and there was a big turnout for auditions – underlining the many different aspects to the debate over whether Kirkcaldy should support such a venture at all.

The Fife Free Press filmed the demonstrations live on our Facebook page to a huge audience – the footage reached 120,000 people, sparking some 2000 comments.

Sin was launched by Mario Caira and his wife Niki.

READ MORE: Kirkcaldy strip club: The cases for and against

The family name is synonymous with nightlife in the Lang Toun going back several generations – from dance halls to bingo halls, and even helping bring The Beatles to town.

The decision to utilise the separated upper lounge as a lapdancing bar has lit up debate in the town, eclipsing even the shock closure announcement of M&S.

Protests and counter protests were held.

A new group Women Together in Fife (WTF) held a rally in the Town Square, opposite Kitty’s nightclub.

A group of supporters gathered to hear from former councillor, Marie Penman, who took issue with what she says is the exploitation of women – although the club will also have male lapdancers.

Meanwhile, across the road there was a counter protest led by Kirkcaldy businessman Amby Stanyer-Hunter.

It is understood that around 20 female dancers and seven male dancers have been hired by the club, with both genders being represented on any given night.

Mario said: “I am quite surprised at the amount of protest this has attracted. If they don’t like it then they don’t need to attend.

“My wife had almost 100 people applying for a job and had to turn people away because there were so many applicants. They were not being forced to apply.”

READ MORE: Protests over Kirkcaldy strip club plans

Mr Caira said he respected opinions over the venture were very mixed, but took issue with a petition attacking David Torrance MSP for comments made in the Press in which he said he was “neither for nor against it” and said if it was properly run and caused no issues in the vicinity he did not have a problem with it.

Mr Caira said: “I respect everyone’s opinion.

“What I don’t agree with is some people’s opinion that they have the right to dictate to others where they should or shouldn’t work or what they should do for a living – that’s not a democracy.

“The petition against David Torrance MSP was unwarranted.

“All he said was that he didn’t have a problem as long as it was properly run, which I fully agree with.

“As I have said before, the people working at Sin will be looked after like our own staff, with the same level of safety.

“Like my staff I will ensure that the dancers, male and female, have a safe way of getting home, be that a lift with someone else or accompanying them to their cars which will be parked in our own car park.”

The lapdancing bar didn’t win the backing of the town’s MP, Lesley Laird.

READ MORE: Fife’s only strip club to open in Kirkcaldy

She said: “At a point when there is significant investment going into Kirkcaldy’s waterfront, and we are also working to attract quality businesses to the town centre – and also retain the ones we have, as in the case with Marks and Spencer – this new venture doesn’t send out the right message.

“Given the success of the MeToo movement over the past year, and the significant strides in culture about how society views women, this announcement just seems so out of step with where wider society is heading.”

She said its opening would “be disappointing for all the people in the town who are working so hard to improve Kirkcaldy’s image and attract quality investment to it.”

The Labour politician added: “It’s also disappointing that licencing law would appear not to have kept up with being able to address this type of change of use.

“Just like topless pics on Page 3 in The Sun and Formula 1 ‘hospitality girls’, I believe strip clubs and lap dancing bars should belong to a bygone era.”