CHICAGO (CBS) — Violation of privacy or a funny gimmick? A two-way mirror in a west suburban bar has come under mass scrutiny thanks to a comedian’s YouTube video.
While performing comedy at Cigars and Stripes in Berwyn, Chicago comedian Tamale Rocks noticed something in the bathroom: a two-way mirror.
Opposite of the toilet, the full length mirror appears to be attached to a door. Unlocked, it leads to a small storage closet. If you are in the closet, you have an unimpeded view of the toilet via the two-way mirror, and anyone who happens to be on it.
“It’s a bathroom — there’s an expectation of privacy,” the performer told CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey on Monday.
In an interview with Jezebel (the content of the interview is somewhat NSFW), the owner, Ronnie Lottz, acknowledged the two-way mirror: “And yes, absolutely: we have a two-way mirror in there, yes, yes; we’ve had it since 2001.”
According to the owner, the mirror is there as a joke to intentionally creep people out. After declaring he would burn Cigars and Stripes to the ground before removing the mirror, Lottz said the mirror is old news, “the door is open; it’s for Halloween. We used to hang a witch’s head in there so that the girls would pee, and they’d look into a dingy closet and be all weirded out.”
Lottz invited Chicago media into the club Monday afternoon, again defending the mirror as a joke that hasn’t harmed anyone.
“I put a lot of heart and soul into this business. I’m sorry to tell you guys there’s no hanky panky going on in that bathroom,” he said.
Police showed up to the business Monday and later indicated no charges would be filed, CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports. Legal experts say possession of a two-way mirror, even in a bathroom setting, doesn’t appear to be illegal — provided no one is peering from the other side or recording from that vantage point.
A woman who said she works at Cigars and Stripes had this to say: “There’s nobody behind (the door).”