© 2024 | WUWF Public Media
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
850 474-2787
NPR for Florida's Great Northwest
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Stripper sues Florida over new age restrictions for workers at adult entertainment businesses

FILE - An exotic dancer's shoe on stage at Scores Gentlemen's Club, Jan. 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. A stripper and the strip club where she worked have sued Florida’s attorney general to stop enforcement of a new state law took effect on Monday, July 1, 2024, prohibiting adult entertainment businesses from employing people who are under age 21, claiming it violates their First Amendment rights. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Chris O'Meara/AP
/
AP
FILE - An exotic dancer's shoe on stage at Scores Gentlemen's Club, Jan. 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. A stripper and the strip club where she worked have sued Florida’s attorney general to stop enforcement of a new state law took effect on Monday, July 1, 2024, prohibiting adult entertainment businesses from employing people who are under age 21, claiming it violates their First Amendment rights. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

A 19-year-old and the club where she worked as a stripper have sued Florida’s attorney general and two local prosecutors to stop enforcement of a new state law prohibiting adult entertainment businesses from employing people who are under 21, claiming it violates their constitutional rights.

Serenity Michelle Bushey claims in the lawsuit that she lost her job at Cafe Risque in the Gainesville area after the law took effect on Monday since she is younger than 21. The purpose of the law was to deter human trafficking, according to Florida lawmakers.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Tallahassee on behalf of Bushey, the owner of Cafe Risque and two adult businesses in Jacksonville. It seeks a permanent injunction stopping the law from being enforced, claiming it violates their First Amendment right to free speech and Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.

Besides Bushey, eight other adult performers who are older than 18 but younger than 21 are unable to work at Cafe Risque because of the new law, the lawsuit said.

“As with similar performers around the state, Bushey earned her living through her art while providing entertainment for the benefit and enjoyment of her audience,” the lawsuit said. “Plaintiffs have a clear legal right to engage in protected speech of this nature.”

The new law also prohibits hiring cooks, DJs, waitresses and security guards who are older than 18 but younger than 21, or even use workers in that age group from third-party contractors hired to perform tasks like air-conditioning repairs or carpentry, according to the lawsuit.

Kylie Mason, communications director for the Office of the Attorney General, said Tuesday that the office hadn't yet been served with the lawsuit but will defend the new law.

Copyright 2024 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.