Popular right-wing Twitter account "Libs of Tik-Tok", a twitter account not renowned for its accuracy, published a provocative picture which claimed that "a pride event in Charlotte, NC featured a stripper pole where kids were able to try out pole dancing"


Below is the picture:

enter image description here

Is this photo real, and is Libs of Tik-Tok description of its context accurate?

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    Fundamentally, this question is similar to another from the OP in that it is a clash of cultures, not of facts. Some people see this as child abuse - a sex worker sexualising a small child. Some see a kid playing with exercise equipment like it is a playground, with a woman who may well be his mother or trusted family friend or relative. I don't think anyone is suggesting the photo is inauthentic, so showing it isn't seems misguided.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 27, 2022 at 13:01
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    @Oddthinking As I commented on the current answer, I think the fact that "stripper pole" is a disputed term, and that the pole was provided by a local exercise club, would be a valid answer to "is the description of the context accurate?" The clear implication that this is related to sex work can be factually answered by providing that link to non-sexual use.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 27, 2022 at 22:18
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    @Oddthinking Regarding "I don't think anyone is suggesting the photo is inauthentic", the question asks exactly that: "is this photo real"? So yes, an answer should first establish that the photo appears to be genuine and not doctored, e.g. by linking to independent evidence that the pole was there, and allowed use by children. That might cross over nicely with my previous comment: find who provided the pole, and discuss the non-sexual context in which they did so.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 27, 2022 at 22:41
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    @IMSoP: Dance poles are commonly called "stripper's poles". Sliding poles are commonly called "Fireman's poles". Poles used in circus are often called Chinese poles. You can use them without being a stripper, a fireman or Chinese, but calling them by that name is not factually wrong, even if some people prefer you didn't. Anyone who answers this question "No, because I prefer a different term to the general public" is not answering the question. Perhaps "Yes, but you may not have noticed that non-exotic-performance pole dance has become a hugely popular exercise in the past 20 years."?
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 28, 2022 at 3:36
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    @Oddthinking 'Perhaps "Yes, but you may not have noticed that non-exotic-performance pole dance has become a hugely popular exercise in the past 20 years."?' Yes, precisely that. I'm not splitting hairs about whether there are alternative names for the apparatus, I'm saying there is a clear implication in the Twitter and Fox News reactions that the term "stripper pole" can be taken literally, and that it is uniquely associated with sex work or other adult-only activity. And yes, I hadn't noticed. Count me in today's lucky 10k.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 28, 2022 at 3:43

1 Answer 1


Fox News reports that the event occurred in Charlotte, NC, on August 20-21, 2022. They also link to an article about a similar event which took place in Harrisburg, PA. The sponsors of the Harrisburg event and owner of the pole both gave statements to Fox News.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, the Pride Festival of Central Pennsylvania stood by the actions of the man in the video who was identified as hairdresser Mikee Bentz.

"The Pride Festival of Central Pennsylvania stands behind the actions of Mr. Bentz whose Metro Enterprises provided nothing more than a vehicle of fun and exercise at last weekend's Pride Festival," a spokesperson for the event told Fox News Digital.

Bentz also stood by his actions in the video in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

"I am proud to offer Harrisburg/Central Pennsylvania an avenue for fitness, creativity, artistry, and expression in businesses that are not only operated at the highest level of ethical behavior, but that also take into account inclusivity and a deep appreciation for protecting the environment," Bentz said.

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    So "yes, but it wasn't a stripper pole"?
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 26, 2022 at 15:45
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    The video posted to Twitter shows people doing erotic dances with the pole, but I'm not sure if all the people who used the pole perceived it in the same way -- I wanted to answer the objective part of the question and establish that such events are not uncommon
    – Avery
    Aug 26, 2022 at 15:55
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    @F1Krazy: That's a pointless distinction. Many pole dancers distance themselves from the use of pole for strip-tease, but apparatus is still widely known as a "stripper pole" - and can be seen advertised as such - even when not used for that purpose.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 26, 2022 at 18:19
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    @Oddthinking As someone unaware of this exercise / performance trend, I think that fact itself should be part of an answer, because it is relevant to the sub-question "is Libs of Tik-Tok description of its context accurate?" Beware of conflating "reasonably well-known in a certain social group" with "so obvious it doesn't need stating", just because you belong to the social group in question.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 27, 2022 at 9:06
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    @IMSoP: I was responding to a comment which appeared to be arguing "It isn't a stripper pole because it wasn't being used by a stripper." Perhaps this should be in the answer. I will comment more on the main question.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 27, 2022 at 12:58

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