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Last updated: 9/23/2016



The following is a voluntary code for conduct within the burlesque and variety community. This is not a legally binding document. Nothing within this document should be construed as legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such.

BCAUS Mission


In our current sociological climate, it is not uncommon for the survivors of abuse to experience backlash upon sharing their story. This creates a paralyzing situation for members of the community who experience or witness abusive behavior -- fear of community backlash, and lack of adequate support services have prevented members of the burlesque and variety community from coming forward with reports of misconduct.

BCAUS believes that we must protect each other. We believe that all members of the burlesque and variety community are entitled to safe spaces in which to create and share their art. In order to create those spaces, members of the community must feel empowered to come forward.

Mission Statement

BCAUS exists to protect the burlesque and variety community from abusive behavior, to educate community members about best practices, to provide a variety of support services, and to provide an anonymous reporting system in an effort to provide accountability and eradicate unsafe spaces in the Chicago community. Our goal is to ensure the mental and physical well-being of the community, particularly with respect to physically and verbally abusive behavior.

BCAUS Code of Conduct

In order to ensure a safe space for producers, crew, performers, and audience members, the following guidelines are set.  Should anyone act in violation of these standards, we encourage witnesses and harmed parties to come forward and report their behavior to BCAUS.  

Burlesque is a particularly vulnerable form of art. Burlesque is often sexual and arousing, however sexual performance should not be conflated with consent. At burlesque shows, the following standards are suggested as best practices to create safe performance spaces for performers, audiences, and crews alike.

Elements of a safe bar or theater show:

The above standards are primarily applicable at performances, however in order to keep the community safe, the following guidelines are recommended at all times, including at shows, in off-time, and digitally.

Elements of a safe community:

Elements of a safe video or photo shoot:

Reporting system

BCAUS accepts reports of abuse from any person, whether or not a signer of the Code of Conduct, about any person or enterprise, whether or not a signer of the Code of Conduct. Reports are maintained from and about: burlesque and variety performers, hosts, photographers, videographers, producers, stagehands, venues, patrons, and anyone else connected to the burlesque community.

The purpose of the reporting system is (1) to provide a safe, anonymous method to report abuse to the community, (2) to educate members of the community when their actions are negatively impacting others, and (3) to notify the community of abusive behavior in the event of repeated, documented abuse.

BCAUS does not investigate or certify the veracity of any report. Details are collected and maintained in a database for the purpose of identifying patterns of abuse, and (in the case of pervasive, documented abuse) notifying the community appropriately. We request that incident reports be completed by the people who directly experienced or witnessed the incident, rather than third parties.

BCAUS is not a union, it is an action group. As such, the reports we accept are about abusive behavior and not labor disagreements.

BCAUS accepts all reports, but retains reports only about the following types of complaint (at its own discretion):

Reports will be reviewed by the Board, and complainants will receive a response within 48 hours (if contact information is given). Responses will include the Board’s planned response, along with relevant resources for the complainant. Complainants are given the opportunity to approve or reject the response.

Responses by BCAUS can include, but are not limited to:

Responses will be chosen as the Board deems situationally appropriate.

Community members will be able to request reports on individuals and receive, at most, the following information:

Reports are permanent and will not be removed from records.


In the interest of honest communication and transparency, the parties listed below comprise the BCAUS Board, who catalog incident reports in the database, respond to incident report requests, determine responses as a group, and provides educational materials to claimants and those who have been charged with alleged misconduct.

Casey Howard (Gin Fizz)

Rebecca Taylor (Slightly Spitfire)

Megan Hartmann (Eva la Feva)

Mark Lancaster (Saucy Jack)

Jasmine McNeely (Jeez Loueez)

Appendix One

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment is defined as one or a series of comments or conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature outside the boundaries of consent, that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate.

 Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:

Special consideration is recommended when community members engage in physical or emotional relationships with one another, particularly when one party influences another's professional consideration for employment opportunities or when an imbalanced power dynamic exists. Relationships are also not immune to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

All or part of the above grounds may create a negative environment for individuals or groups.  This may have the effect of "poisoning" the community and performance environment. It should be noted that a person does not have to be a direct target to be adversely affected by a negative environment.