Female Comedian Finds Two-Way Mirror in Bar Bathroom
An Illinois bar owner is under investigation for a two-way mirror installed in the ladies room at his club after a visiting comedian posted a YouTube clip detailing how she discovered it.
Chief of Police James Ritz told FoxNews.com that his team conducted interviews with patrons of Cigars and Stripes BBQ, Bar & Lounge in Berwyn, outside of Chicago, and it appears that no laws have been broken.
"We’re doing everything we can to make sure no one's personal privacy has been violated," Ritz said.
Tamale Sepp, who goes by the stage name Tamale Rocks, noticed something amiss while using the ladies room. What appeared to be a regular full-length mirror hanging inside the bathroom turned out to be a two-way mirror leading to a utility closet in the back of the bar. Outraged, the comedian took a video of her discovery, which she posted to YouTube on Sunday.
“Here you will see a clear view of the toilet where ladies relieve themselves at the establishment,” says the comedian as she films from inside the cleaning supply closet, showing how a patron or employee can look into the bathroom while remain hidden from the view.
The video has been viewed over 2 million times since it was posted and quickly sparked outrage. Many have criticized bar owner Ronnie Lottz, with some taking to Yelp to give the bar one star reviews.
Lottz told reporters Monday that the mirror has been there since 2001 and is used as part of a regular Halloween-themed fun house attended by children.
"This is a giant funhouse, ladies and gentlemen," Lottz said. "I put a lot of heart and soul into this business, and I am sorry to tell you this, but there is no hanky panky going on in that bathroom."
He added that the door is always kept unlocked, so that anyone using the bathroom can open the door and inspect the closet.
Amid growing concern, Berwyn police questioned Lottz Monday, but say they’ve found no evidence of video or audio recording equipment in the women's restroom. While state law bars secretly videotaping womens’ restrooms, there is no statute explicitly mentioning two-way mirrors.
"At this time there is no indication of criminal activity," Ritz said, adding that they will continue to gather evidence.
Patron Catherine Superdock and her boyfriend, Michael Abbatte told MyFoxChicago that they didn't see any harm in the mirror.
"My initial reaction was I was kind of ticked off, but that was any woman's first initial reaction to something like this, and then once I started hearing Ronnie's view, I don't think he means any harm," said Superdock.
But Sepp, in an email to the Chicago Tribune, said she was disappointed by those who didn't see the mirror as inappropriate.
"The fact that a two-sided mirror EXISTS in a bathroom is NOT OK. Cover it? So that it can be made operational afterward? No. Remove it," she wrote.
Later, in a rant to the website Jezebel, Lottz accused Sepp of posting the video for self-promotion and that she had performed a “bad set” there.
“I will burn this f*cking place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror. Do you know how much joy that mirror has brought to us?” Lottz said. “We do a freaky family fun day, and all the kids look in the mirror. This is a fun house, honey, and if you don’t like the two-way mirror, go f*ck yourself; and if you come on my stage, have something to say.”
Lottz did not immediately return FoxNews.com's request for comment.
For now, Lottz refuses to take down the mirror, and as of Wednesday morning, Cigars and Stripes' Facebook page is back up after being taken down.