On January 17, Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg, presidential hopeful and former mayor of South Bend, IN, was slated to headline a fundraiser at the Dark Lady in downtown Providence. Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate to mount a major campaign for president, has been endorsed by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and is believed to be in the top tier of candidates in the runup to the Democratic primaries.
But campaign workers who arrived at the club ahead of the event asked the staff to remove the "dancing pole" in the middle of the club. Manager Buck Asprinio refused, saying, "It's been here since we opened and it's not going anywhere…. It's part of who we are." He claims the campaign knew in advance the pole was there, and they cancelled with only 20 minutes' notice, sending attendees to the Hotel Providence with no explanation. He regretted that they chose the hotel instead of a "gayoriented" venue. The campaign says it offered to compensate the Dark Lady for the agreed-on price for the event.