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TORONTO - A group of strippers and their waitress colleagues who met on the roof for their breaks are finding out their hideaway isn't as private as they thought. Women working at the Zanzibar Tavern, a strip club in Toronto, believed no one could see them when they popped out for a cigarette or cellphone call while still in their work attire.
But a Ryerson University librarian, Brian Cameron, took photos of the women from his office window in August and September. They were published Wednesday on Torontoist, a local news blog that interviewed Cameron and did a story on the pictures. The club's owner, Allen Cooper, says the women feel their privacy has been violated. Many dancers try to keep their occupation under wraps, something they won't be able to do now because the photos show their faces, he said.
Norma-Jean Anderson, a bartender and waitress at Zanzibar, said two women quit over the photos and many left the club in tears Thursday morning.
I mean, everyone has seen these pictures and they've seen their faces. Cameron "was stunned and embarrassed" by the article that ran in the Torontoist, he said in an email Thursday. The librarian said he was not paid for the photos, but would not comment further. The images have sparked a heated debate over privacy and consent when it comes to photographing people in public places. In most of the country, "you have no privacy rights when you're in public," says Gil Zvulony, a privacy and copyright lawyer in Toronto.
In Quebec, however, photographers cannot publish photos without the subject's consent, unless it's for news or in the public interest. It all comes down to how secluded the rooftop is from onlookers and whether the women had a reasonable expectation of privacy, he said.