When I discovered that raptors Dance Pak girl Lucie Marshal was fired last week for posing on an adult Web site, I did what everyone else did and immediately checked her out online. There she was in various states of undress and one mildly racy, all-nekkid shot - and if I forked over some cash, I was promised "close-ups of all (her) private parts,' though this feature has since been removed. I don't care if there's a camera crawling up her ass. Did she really lose her job over this? I desperately need to know, because I, too, have a history in the adult industry. Could it come back to bite me? The notion seems so archaic, its spooky.
People are terribly fascinated by my past as a stripper and often ask what made me do it, expecting some delicious tale of personal torment and catharsis. Actually, it was nothing of the sort. There were no sleepless nights or internal conflicts, nor was I suddenly overcome by a sense of sexual empowerment. Sorry.
The real story is, I wasn't making enough money where I was working and thought I'd try something else. I tried it. It was OK. I did it for a few years. And I never gave much thought to how it might affect people's opinion of me, because I've never given a hoot about such things, or if it might limit or my future career opportunities.
But now I'm curious. Why were the Raptors so set on dumping Marshal? One press report had Raptors event operations director Jim Roe saying Marshal "does not fit with (the team's) values.' But when I call Raptors rep Rajani Kamath, the backpedalling begins. Do they think I'm stupid? I feel like I'm stuck in a Three's Company episode where everything is all just a big misunderstanding.
Kamath won't confirm why the cheerleader was asked to leave. "I can tell you that what we did was in the best interest of our organization, but I can't go into the details of why she was terminated' is all she'll say about this.
Still, she explains that the Raptors organization is expected to adhere to certain values, like the need to "excite our fans, inspire our employees and bring pride to the community. It's really about creating champions."
Marshal has her own take on this gushing modus operandi. She says she was told by the Dance Pak coordinator that "we can't have you on the team any more because we found out about your pictures on that nude Web site.'
Oh, bite me. Why not? Posing naked is not illegal. Raptor Rod Strickland has a couple of drunk driving convictions, not to mention other arrests. They had no problem taking on Rafer Alston (now of the Miami Heat), who pleaded no contest to assault charges. The rap sheet of the entire NBA is far too long to list here, but look it up yourself. (And I might add that there's never any dearth of sports stars frequenting strip clubs. Everybody knows sports and naked chicks go hand in hand.)
One might get the impression that drunk driving and assaulting women fit just fine with the Raptors' values, while posing for a naked picture does not. I suggest as much to Kamath, who assures me that "the reason she was terminated was not a morals issue. We are not in the business of judging morals.' If I were hypothesizing, I might muse that Strickland can get away with more because he's the bigger money-maker.
"It's hypocritical of them,' says Marshal's lawyer, Will Chang. "There are obviously so many participants in the NBA who have certain past indiscretions: assaults, narcotics, DUI, any number of things. Probably the most celebrated star of the NBA is currently on trial for rape, and even if found not guilty, he's an admitted adulterer, so from a morality point of view Lucie is looking pretty good.' It's wrong, Chang argues, for any employer to fire someone based on something they have done in their private life.
Marshal, who is not yet 20 and DJs under the name Lucie Lytes, is shocked by the dismissal and hasn't quite decided on her course of action. "I didn't think (the posing) would affect me in this way. It was something I did, and I just moved on. For it to come up later was certainly a surprise.'
So I probably can't be a Dance Pak Girl. On an intrepid quest for more information about the high cost of a former career in adult erotica, I call a bunch of companies - hospitals, media outlets and cultural orgs - to find out if they would have reacted the same way and whether they have policies on such matters.
I spend two days on the phone and come up with only one concrete answer. All say they will call me back, then don't. I get it. Basically, companies are concerned that if they say they will hire a former sex-biz type they risk alienating patrons. But if they admit they won't hire they risk coming across as judgmental, prudish, unprogressive assholes. Jesus. I wasn't asking if they would hire a killer or child molester, just someone who got naked for money, maybe had a little sex.
The only person who gives me a solid response is Phillip Boswell of the Canadian Opera Company. He breezily informs me, "We require our employees to enact many things that might be considered pornographic. For example, Die Walküre, which opens April 4, is about a brother and sister falling in love, so we have incest. In Madame Butterfly the tenor seduces and knocks up a 15-year-old. In Salome the soprano who sings Salome has to strip and make out with the severed head of John the Baptist. If that isn't kinky enough for you, I don't know what is.' To make a long answer short, Boswell says that his performers' activities outside of the COC are "none of my business." One day everyone will think like that. In the meantime, don't pose for any naked Web sites.