Creepy Bar Owner Thinks Two-Way Mirror In Women's Restroom Is Good For Business
By Rachel Cromidas in News on Apr 27, 2015 8:45PM
Using fun house-style mirrors to scare the crap out of people on Halloween is funny. Keeping a two-way mirror in the women's restroom of your bar the other 364 days of the year is definitely not.
But Ronnie Lottz insists he has no qualms about the two-way mirror that a local comedian found facing the toilet in his Berwyn Halloween-themed restaurant and lounge, Cigars and Stripes, where she performed a set Saturday night. In fact, Lottz says the comic was just looking for the opportunity for a viral video that continues the trend of being "outraged by feminism." His e-mail is below, by the way.
"Here you will see the back of the door cut out and a clear view of the toilets that the ladies relieve themselves in at this establishment," the comedian, who goes by the stage name Tamale Rocks, says in a video she uploaded to YouTube Sunday. She then peeks behind a full-length mirror in the women's restroom to find a broom closet with the door behind the mirror cut out to reveal a clear, straight-on view of the toilet. "Here's to being a lady in comedy, am I right?"
The video, which had more than 87,000 views by Monday afternoon, has been shared widely by people in Chicago's comedy scene, and nationally, with many agreeing with Tamale's assessment: This is unacceptably creepy.
Lottz though had a different take, which he shared in a rambling, rather insulting interview with Jezebel's Karyn Polewaczyk Sunday night:
"I will burn this fucking place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror. Do you know how much joy that mirror has brought to us? We’re synonymous with Halloween. We do a freaky family fun day, and all the kids look in the mirror. This is a fun house, honey, and if you don’t like the two-way mirror, go fuck yourself; and if you come on my stage, have something to say. Everyone needs an angle."
Because what could be more joyous than women feeling scared to go to the restroom alone?
Of course, as Lottz tells it, Tamale Rocks is only angry because she's "doing nothing with her career"—not because it could feel really gross and violating to discover that someone could be hiding in a closet, watching you pee. If only she were more successful, his twisted logic goes, she wouldn't feel the need to get all "outraged about feminism," and warn other comedians that they've been dropping trou in front of a massive peep hole.
Lottz has his own strategy for success, apparently determined to turn this whole thing into a publicity stunt. He's even "got T-shirts being printed."
He also repeatedly reminds Jezebel's Polewaczyk, "We sell chicken wings," as though that has anything to do with a woman's expectation of privacy while she's in the restroom.
Clearly this is not the way to nurture comedic talent in Chicago as Lottz alleges he is doing: "I break my ass for the local comics in Chicago. I pay them. I try to make them into rock stars. They do nothing, except for this. One girl said she wanted to pull her pants down and show her clitoris to me, and they all came and ate the wings."
But is the opportunistically-located mirror illegal? A Chicago Police Department spokeswoman pointed Chicagoist to an Illinois statute that forbids secretly videotaping or live-streaming in women's restrooms, but could not find a statute forbidding two-way mirrors.
"Common sense would say that's illegal," says News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. "Why would you want somebody to watch you going to the bathroom?"
Tamale told Chicagoist she has been overwhelmed with support from viewers of her video post, though some have questioned her motives and how she handled the discovery.
"My question is, 'Why is there a situation for me to even have to handle?'" she said in an e-mail. Lottz "and some of his patrons simply do not get it. Here's a thought—I don't care if they get it or not. Creating that opportunity for various violations in a women's bathroom is not acceptable. There is no way to prove that nothing has happened."
Lottz did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, and an employee at the restaurant said he was unavailable Monday afternoon. Though, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, an e-mail he shared freely with Jezebel.