A benefit for the homeless at the Downtown St. Louis Hooters restaurant drew fire and was ultimately shot down, Tuesday.
The St. Patrick's Center's "Dine or Donate" event was set for Thursday night.
St. Patrick's Center cancelled the event after receiving what a spokeswoman said were a "few dozen" complaints.
St. Patrick's Center is a Catholic charity that helps provide food, clothing, shelter, and job training for close to 9,000 people in need in the St. Louis area every year.
The event's opponents felt the Hooters image of scantily clad waitresses serving food, was hardly in keeping with the Catholic faith. Waitresses in ultra tight tank tops and short shorts rode a scooter and twirled a hula hoop outside the restaurant to lure customers Tuesday night.
There is more to the story: for years in St. Louis, "Hooters Girls" have been serving the homeless around them; volunteering at St. Patrick's Center, serving lunches there in the proper attire; donating time and food to the St. Patrick's Center's mega-fundraiser, the annual Sports Trivia Championship.
But the line was drawn at holding an event for St. Patrick's Center at the restaurant, with the waitresses clad in their skimpy uniforms.
"I don't think they should have cancelled it," said customer, Cheryl Waltrip, a non-Catholic visiting St. Louis. "I think that any opportunity to raise money especially in our times with people being homeless and jobless. I think they should take every opportunity they get to raise money." (Drink! This matches the required media template I wrote about yesterday: "Of course, all that matters is that money is raised for the charity, right? If this story...gets picked up by the mainstream press in this town, look for commenters ... to say exactly that.")
She said her husband, who is Catholic, would not object. (Just let that one sink in. Wait. Wait... OK. Oh baby.)
"He loves Hooters," she laughed. (I mean, why would he object, he LOOOOOOOOVES HOOOTERS!!!!! And why wouldn't he? He's Catholic!)
"I think that was wrong [to cancel the event]," said Steve Brown, a homeless man. "They're looking at the religious part of it instead of the beneficiary part of it. You and I would benefit from that. Me, being homeless, I go there [St. Patrick's Center] all the time trying to find a job, clothing, and everything else."
"Let it happen," said another homeless man.
But the homeless who might benefit aren't calling the shots here.
An e-mail "blast" alerting people to the fundraiser, prompted dozens of complaints on-line and over the phone.
One blog, posting a concern about "encouraging the lusts of men ... To get a few bucks for charity". (Huh? Which blog is that? Sounds pretty pretentious. Who writes like that?)
St. Patrick's center cancelled the event. A volunteer for the homeless in St. Louis concedes, "hooters" heart may be in the right place - but --
"But when you hear the name hooters what's the first thing you think about ? Little shorts white top. It just doesn't fit the bill. But i think it was really great that they wanted to do something like that. That really speaks highly of them."
A statement from st. Patrick's center says in part -- "we reached out to local restaurants
That have helped st. Patrick center in the past to participate in a series of 'dine and donate' events. 16 restaurants agreed to participate."
Hooters was just one of the restaurants.
The key word there : "was" -- not anymore.
And be assured that the comments at the print story online follow the usual template.