The famous Atlanta strip club the Cheetah Lounge has settled a series of lawsuits filed by former dancers claiming unfair labor practices and a dangerous environment where dancers were subjected to sexual harassment and assault. In a joint statement issued with principal litigant and former dancer Alison Valente, the Cheetah did not accept any blame but acknowledged making changes to the midtown club to create a safer and more equitable environment. Valente settled her separate claims for an undisclosed amount. The dancers who spoke to the AJC said they had all been groped and assaulted by customers who had come to expect sexual contact in the rooms. One dancer said she was raped. Lawyers for the club denied the accusations, but in a filing with the U.
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But Valente said she was improperly fired from the world-renowned club in — a destination for visitors, professional athletes and well-heeled patrons for four decades — after complaining about a practice of pairing high-rolling customers with dancers for illegal sexual contact and bullying those who refused to play along. Moreover, they described the dangers faced by strippers who did not want to cross the line. The women said patrons secretly drugged, assaulted, and in one case, raped one of them in an atmosphere where they said Cheetah customers were led to believe they could expect sexual favors from dancers if they were willing to pay for it. The dancers all worked at the club within the past five years, some as recently as within the last year. Patrons paid the dancers, who then paid the floormen a percentage for help booking the room and ignoring illegal activity that took place inside.