Imagine you're a cake decorator who finds yourself inscribing “Happy 12th Birthday” in icing across a cake made to look like naked breasts. Would you stop and think, 'Wait, this seems inappropriate.'
Apparently neither the cake maker nor the waitress nor anyone else raised a red flag before handing over said birthday cake to a child celebrating his big day at a Hooters restaurant in Bristol, England. Not only that, the child was also said to have received 'sexualized Hooters merchandise.'
Now an online petition is calling for the closure of that branch, claiming the restaurant has breached its licensing agreement that bans entertainment inappropriate for children.
This comes on the heels of similar complaints filed in Orange County against two Hooters locations in Anaheim and Costa Mesa. The California chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) alleges these restaurants provide sexual entertainment as well as cater to children, which violates state and local laws prohibiting sexually oriented “adult” businesses from serving minors.
So says CA NOW, Hooters told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the late 90s that it is a provider of “vicarious sexual entertainment,” which is why it's allowed to run its business outside the sexual discrimination and harassment laws. According to a NOW statement, Hooters' own employment materials read: “a 'Hooters Girl' is employed as a sexual entertainer and, as part of her employment, can expect to be subjected to various sexual jokes by customers and such potential contacts as buttocks slaps.”
But that's not what NOW takes issue with. The organization's complaint stems from the fact that Hooters markets itself as a family-friendly restaurant, offering a kids menu, high chairs and child-size merchandise, one of which reads “Future Hooters Girl” across the chest. Put simply, NOW is saying Hooters can't have it both ways. They're calling on government authorities to force Hooters to choose: either start complying with EEOC regulations or stop serving minors.
Which seems more likely? Would Hooters opt to cover up their waitresses a little better and become a wholesome family establishment, or let all hell break loose and go the pseudo strip club route? It's definitely a question. Another question: Why are so many parents bringing their kids to Hooters?
Follow Ali Trachta on Twitter @MySo_CalLife.