Sarah Tressler, the Houston Chronicle society reporter who was fired in March shortly after the Houston Press exposed she also moonlighted as a stripper at Houston’s high-end gentlemen clubs—and blogged about it under the alias ‘Angry Stripper’—is now suing the Chronicle for gender discrimination.
Tressler, who filed the suit with help from celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, alleges she was fired for not disclosing her work as an exotic dancer:
“I was very upset that I was fired because I had been told by many editors that I was doing a good job … There was no question on the form that covered my dancing. I answered the questions on the form honestly,” Tressler said in a statement.
We’ll let the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sort this out, but the Chronicle may have a case as to why Tressler should have disclosed her gig, however infrequent. I’m no Houstonian, but I imagine there might be some overlap between Houston society and the clientele at a high-end gentleman’s club. That raises the possibility of a pretty plausible conflict of interest—if the prominent citizens Tressler covered by day are the same people who saw her strip by night, that’s going to affect reporter-subject dynamics and it’s going to compromise Tressler’s position as a neutral observer. Tressler, who went to journalism school and is an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Houston, ought to know that.
And let’s not forget the strip club. Had she disclosed her day gig to them? One can imagine having a journalist in the line-up could be pretty bad for business.Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.