For years we have told our clients and lectured in our speeches in places such as Las
Vegas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and here in Florida that the adult entertainment industry needs
to get involved in local affairs. We have championed the approach that club owners need to be
good for their communities and should donate to charities, to little league teams and to schools.
It has always been our thoughts that giving back to the community makes you part of the
community and just maybe those people who look at us as demons will take another look.
Although these motivations may not be the nobelist, but if charities had to rely on only noble
donations as opposed to those based upon practical reasons such as taxes, then most charities
could not survive.
Yet, there is a man in our industry who for many years has given to charity and to
charitable causes for the sake of giving and out of the kindness of his heart. We personally have
seen him open up his wallet and give donations to veterans, expecting no fanfare or even
acknowledgment. For years, he has donated under the radar to causes and to towns, to schools,
to firemen and to organizations for no other reason than there were those in need and he had the
wherewithal to help.
In late January it came to light that man, Joe Rodriguez owner and operator of the
Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs and a charity that he funds, had donated money to a school in Palm
Beach County, Florida. Some people associated with the school and parents, immediately started
clamoring that the money should be returned, as it was unsavory given the source and in the
means that it was made. Fortunately, at the time of the writing of this article, it appears that
cooler heads prevailed and the school is going to keep the money as the needs of the students
should far outweigh the moral prejudice of others.
This situation is thwart with ironies. Our opponents tell us that all we do is take from the
community and give nothing back. When we attempt to give things back, then somehow we are
not worthy of giving. Students every year are sent out to knock on neighbors’ doors soliciting
donations for various things from walks to prevent cancer or heart disease; funding of class trips;
or other causes where the school gets a small percentage of what is raised. Never is it asked what
that neighbor/donor does for a living, where that neighbor/donor got their money, or even if that
neighbor/donor might have a criminal past. Rather, the making of our children into door-to-door
solicitors so that they can be rewarded with a t-shirt asks nothing other than sales. Yet, when Joe
Rodriguez stepped up to the plate and donated far more than a dollar for a chocolate bar of
candy, somehow his money was not pure.
A few states have attempted to enact “poll tax” laws where adult entertainment facilities
are taxed by the state based upon the number of patrons that enter. A number of these laws have
been held to be unconstitutional, but that hasn’t stopped some other states from trying.
Ironically, those who protested the gift that Joe Rodriguez gave to that school in Palm Beach
County, would be the same ones who would be clamoring that clubs such as Joe’s should be
taxed. Apparently, adult entertainment money is good when it is taken, but not so good when it
is given. Apparently, adult entertainment money is cleansed when it touches the hands of the tax
collector, and when it is used to punish the adult entertainment industry but remains dirty when it
is given for a noble cause.
The people who opposed the gift from Joe Rodriguez should be ashamed of themselves.
They put their moral views ahead of the welfare of their children. They put their prejudices
ahead of practicalities. They branded a man not worthy of giving when they know so little about
We wonder how many of these sanctimonious people know that Joe Rodriguez is a
veteran having served in the United States Marines. We wonder how many of these people know
that when Joe’s phone rings, it plays the Marine Corp. Hymn. We wonder how many of these
people know that Joe is as patriotic as you will find and if you cut him, he probably would bleed
red, white and blue. We wonder how many of them know that Joe Rodriguez believes in the
constitution of the United States, including the First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of
expression and all he does is choose to exercise those rights.