Parents in Ocean City, Md., flooded police with complaints of an unidentified young woman wearing a bikini and pole dancing on the beach boardwalk last Saturday night.
However, the city officials say they cannot force the pole-dancing woman (video below) to leave because of a lawsuit the ACLU won against the city in February 2012. In that lawsuit, the ACLU sued to protect the free speech rights of street performers.
“Basically the street performers can go up there as long as they aren’t breaking any other laws and they’re performing and exercising their first amendment rights,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan told CBS Baltimore. “They have every right to be up on the boardwalk.”
“It’s not going to go away," added Mayor Meehan. "The Constitution of the United States isn’t going to change, but we have to do whatever we can do to make sure that the public out on the boardwalk is getting the Ocean City experience they’re looking for.”
Resident Elijah Etheridge added, “I’m all in favor of self-expression but there is a limit and I think this is a public place. It’s a family place and I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to come out and bare themselves."
However, the young woman was wearing the same type of bathing suit that many people do on the famous boardwalk.
"It was disgusting, it doesn’t belong anywhere here," Joe Kro-Art, one of the people who called the police, told the Baltimore Sun. "If this is not dealt with, then every resort on the East Coast is going to have pole dancers."
Kro-Art, who owns a local art gallery, says that police officers watched the young woman pole dance for about half an hour and left.
"There were people walking up with their kids, standing there a few minutes, and walking away in shock," added Kro-Art whose own business is protected by the First Amendment.
"It was a mixed bag of reaction," Ocean City Councilman Brent Ashley told the Baltimore Sun. "Some people thought it was okay, but I got an email from a family from New Jersey who happened to be here visiting and they didn't think it was appropriate."
Ocean City spokeswoman Jessica Waters said in a statement, "We are seeing what our rights and our options are," but added that the city already spent $200,000 in legal fees when it lost its 2012 court case.