The husband of Babe’s Cabaret owner and adult-film mogul Jenna Jameson is being investigated by Scottsdale police after a stripper accused him of assaulting her during a table dance.
No charges have been filed against Jay Grdina, who is accused of pulling a dancer’s hair and pushing her head toward the floor July 22 while visiting the club with his brother and former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who police say may have witnessed the incident but does not appear to be involved.
Grdina denies the allegation, which comes in the weeks leading up to a Sept. 12 city election in which strip club opponents hope to uphold tougher regulations and potentially deliver a severe blow to the future of Babe’s and Skin Cabaret.
“Jay said he never pulled her hair,” said Dick Hertzberg, a Babe’s Cabaret attorney speaking for Grdina. “That’s a serious allegation. He said the girl was doing a table dance, and all of a sudden, she stands up and says, ‘Did you pull my hair?’ Then, she storms off, and the guys at the table all kind of laughed.
“It’s totally not like him to do something like that,” Hertzberg added. “He’s not a tough-guy type at all, and he wasn’t drunk. I’ve heard of customers pulling on things in these clubs, but never somebody’s hair.”
Scottsdale police did not release the dancer’s name. But the report obtained by the Tribune said she was a two-year employee of the club at 2011 N. Scottsdale Road.
“Her hair was grabbed, and she wasn’t happy about it,” Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said. “There doesn’t appear to be any type of injury. It was humiliation more than anything.”
Proposition 401 supporters, who back the tougher regulations, have said these clubs have harmful effects, such as exploitation of women, prostitution, drug trafficking, blight, litter and crime. They have even pointed to the Sept. 8 slaying of Skin Cabaret dancer Georgia Thompson as evidence of the club’s harmful impacts.
As for this recent incident, YESon401.com political committee chairman John Nichols said: “That’s an allegation to be resolved in criminal court and it’s inappropriate to comment on that.”
Lamar Whitmer, a political consultant representing Babe’s and Skin in the election campaign, said “it’s a complete nonissue.”
The police report tells the dancer’s version of the incident.
About 10:30 p.m. July 22, the dancer said, she was directed by a fellow club employee to Grdina’s table. During the approximately three to four minutes she danced for Grdina, she leaned up against Grdina’s left leg before he grabbed her hair at the back of her head with his left hand and pulled her head sharply toward the floor across his left leg, she said.
The dancer asked Grdina, “Why did you do that?” He didn’t answer but laughed at her. After the dancer told the doorman about Grdina pulling her hair, she went into the dressing room and cried before she told the manager of the club what happened. She left Babe’s about 11:15 p.m., and she didn’t plan to continue working at the club. She made the assault complaint the next day. The dancer also told police she wasn’t injured, but that the back of her head and back were sore.
Rodman’s agent Darren Prince said he has not been contacted by Scottsdale police and knows nothing about the incident. “Other than that I can’t make any comment,” Prince said.
About two weeks ago, Grdina and Rodman were seen lounging by the swimming pool at the Mondrian Hotel (formerly the James) in Old Town Scottsdale, according to a statement from the hotel. Prince confirmed Rodman was in town July 22 and said Rodman told him he had visited a strip club.
Jameson and Grdina, an adult-film director and producer, together run the Club Jenna business, which was recently purchased by Playboy Enterprises. Jameson married Grdina in 2003. The couple live in Paradise Valley.
Jameson bought a partial ownership of Babe’s Cabaret last year. A few months later, the City Council adopted stricter regulations that would extend the distance between a dancer and patron. A referendum was launched by Babe’s and Skin and a sufficient number of valid signatures were gathered to force an election.