Burlesque-Performing Professor Gets Fired

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You learn something new everyday
UPDATE: Read what JFK University officials told Addison in our latest story.

A college professor was stripped of her teaching job after university officials found out she had a yen for performing burlesque shows.

Sheila M. Addison, an Alameda County resident, received a termination letter from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill last year for one offense: Performing in San Francisco's Hubba Hubba Revue, which provides political and social commentary on gender, sexuality, and body image stereotypes.

She has filed a claim against the university, saying that her termination was illegal and the result of gender discrimination.
Addison, who holds a PhD and teaches psychology, believed the content of the skits were pertinent; they revealed much about feminist theory and human sexuality.

Addison's defense is that the events took place off campus -- in San Francisco -- and she had not ever advertised them to her students. She also used a stage name -- so nobody would know it was her.

And here is the real show stopper: Addison says that a male professor also had participated in a show outside the university, and disrobed onstage, yet he was never fired from the university, according to her claim.

She filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, challenging the university's actions. She claims that the stated and actual reasons for her termination "did not constitute 'good cause' or 'just cause'" under California or federal law, according to the complaint.

It wasn't as if she incorporated it into the college curriculum.




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17 comments
circeherbivora
circeherbivora

What the heck? This is like a comedy show only with pasties. She was fired for THIS? This is nothing...?

Surlydancergirl
Surlydancergirl

Fetish? Good lord, get a dictionary. But at any rate, it's JFK who is at fault here (not so much the writer of the article though bad editing is a crime in my book)... I hope she wins her case! As a performer, feminist, and person with a respectable day job (luckily I am allowed to have a life outside of work--while I don't hide it from my employers, it's my own business) I am disappointed in JFK. What a letdown...

foo
foo

Guess the author reads the comments -- the word "fetish" was changed to "yen" and "derobed" changed to "disrobed".

trufact
trufact

1) I hope she wins and gives JFK hell in the process!2) what did they think they were going to get when they hired someone with her background and resume? Chastity McPrudence? That seems naive in the utmost. 3) Having attended several Hubba Hubbas, I really question how the Uni could use that to fire her as there was nothing illegal and everything I've ever witnessed has been fully thought out and in a forward-thinking feminist vein. This makes me wonder if the Uni had ulterior motives which they didn't think they could get away with as far as firing her goes. V. shady in my book. It also makes me wonder if the male professor is tall and thin and thus socially acceptable where Dr. Addison is an active and vocal fat activist and hot fat chick herself.

policywank
policywank

This isn't the sort of thing that _anyone_ should be fired for. It has no bearing on her ability to teach or research. It is particularly galling that someone would be fired by an academic institution for something like this. The political and social content of much of modern burlesque is pretty well understood. Even if it weren't, burlesque is pretty tame when compared to what else is freely and widely available in the manner of adult oriented entertainment. This firing really puts into question the credibility of the institution that fired her. I hope she wins and that the punitive damages give her the option to retire if she chooses it.

Sophia Green
Sophia Green

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what?
what?

Isn't JFK University the school that had actual orgies and group sex classes in the 70s and 80s?And they're concerned that a teacher took part in a dance performance?

Roxy Shocks
Roxy Shocks

Holy crap, I've been worried about this happening to me since I started pursuing my PsyD in Psychology. Sheila, give 'em hell.RoxyShocks

rmjwell
rmjwell

I have to wonder if the reporter at any point bothered to contact Dr. Addison or the Revue or if this was just a slapdash rewrite of the court filing.

Heck, it's not like SF Weekly doesn't know about the Hubba Hubba Revue; your photographers find it a wonderful source of content for your online photgalleries.

SushiSpook
SushiSpook

This has no bearing on her ability to perform her job as a teacher - this is nothing more than vindictive prudery.

Also +1 on the "fetish for burlesque dancing" head-scratching. Is being a burlesque dancer a fetish? I think I missed the memo on that one.

Gianteye
Gianteye

It is a big stretch from someone participating in a performance that has a titillating or naughty nature and that person having a fetish for it. It's like saying ornithologists who study bird mating must have have a thing for bestiality.

Although I'm glad to learn of this case and dearly hope she wins it, your first line was a big hit to your credibility and impartiality as an author in addition to the volumes it speaks to your understanding of the subject matter.

Debhill
Debhill

I'm thinking the writer doesn't understand the meaning of the word 'fetish'.

loveofmystery
loveofmystery

It's not as if she was performing in the Nob Hill clubs doing something hardcore. This is burlesque! And even if she did-who cares? I hope she wins.

Europazz
Europazz

It's "disrobe", not "derobe", which is what happens to disgraced priests

Andrew M. Kelly
Andrew M. Kelly

"found out she had a fetish for performing burlesque shows. " why not write "found out she performed in burlesque shows"? It appears you are making a big leap in saying that Ms. Addison's participation is anything other than a performance. That said, thank you for bringing this to our collective attention.

Heather
Heather

Yeah, though i still think it's misleading. Yen is a rather strong word to use when all you really ought to say is that a professor was fired after her employee learned she had participated in a burlesque show. Show; not shows - show.

popefail
popefail

No, no it doesn't, the disgraced ones get moved to another parish somewhere else and the kids they harm just get to suffer.

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