SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A professor claims John F. Kennedy University fired her illegally for appearing in “a burlesque show” called the “‘Hubba Hubba Revue’ … which provides political and social commentary on gender, sexuality, and body image stereotypes.” But it did not fire a male professor who at the same time was doing a one-man show “which included disrobing and partial nudity on stage.”
Professor Sheila Addison, a Ph.D., had worked as an assistant professor at JFK University, in Pleasant Hill, since 2007, she says in her federal complaint. She says her contract was automatically renewable and ran through June 2010.
JFKU President Steven Stargardter fired her in a letter dated June 21, 2010, Addison says: “Defendant Stargardter stated in the letter that he was terminating Addison’s employment because of her performances in a burlesque show entitled ‘Hubba Hubba Revue.’ No other reason was given for Addison’s termination.”
Addison says the show was off-campus – in San Francisco – and that she “never publicized her involvement in The Revue on campus or discussed it with students. Addison’s university affiliation was never identified in her performances or its advertisements and she did not perform under her real name’ she performed under a pseudonym.”
She adds: “The Revue consists of vaudeville and burlesque skits that challenge gender roles and ‘typical’ body images while exploring the sub version of sexuality through performance art. Dr. Addison’s performances have content related to human sexuality and feminist theory.”
Addison says the “stated and actual reasons” for which Stargardter fired her “did not constitute ‘good cause’ or ‘just cause'” under California or federal law.
What’s more she says, “During the period of time in which Dr. Addison was performing in the Hubba Hubba Revue, a similarly situated male professor in another department was performing in a one-man play outside of the university which included disrobing and partial nudity on stage. This male professor had invited students and faculty to view his performances and advertised such performances on campus. However, the male professor was held to a different standard because of his gender and was not disciplined for his performance.”
Addison seeks lost pay, restitution, and punitive damages for breach of contract, unfair business practices, sex discrimination, wrongful firing, wrongful firing for political activity, harassment, and other charges.
She is represented by Greg Groeneveld.
She also sued National University Services, an alter ego of JFKU.