Jasmine Mooney is a successful entrepreneur who owns three Vancouver bars – but lately she’s been defending her taste in art.
Five employees from the Hotel Belmont have launched a human rights complaint over what they contend is an unsafe work environment, caused by what’s on the bar walls.
A large print of a nude woman bent over a muscle car hangs in The Basement, Mooney’s watering hole in the hotel’s lower level. There are also bright neon outlines of a naked woman and man outside the washrooms.
The employees do not work for Mooney, but in other departments in the hotel.
They sought aid from Union Here, the same group that helped employees of the Hotel Georgia launch a sexual harassment claim.
“My reaction was that it was very grotesque and offensive to women,” said Sharan Pawa, spokesperson for Union Here local 40. “The excuse for these images is that they are just trendy and fun, but we don’t think that it’s appropriate because fun doesn’t equate to sexualizing women.”
The F-word is also prominently displayed twice the main bar area, and drawings of dozens of breasts are on the washroom’s ceiling.
Mooney says she choose the artwork herself and does not find it offensive.
”It’s edgy and it’s out there and it’s different” she said. “That’s the thing with art, it’s so subjective.”
She argues similar works are displayed in galleries all over the world, and they are revered by critics.
Her intention was to design a fun establishment that reminds people of the 1950s and their parents basement. The décor is bright. It has a bowling alley, arcade and jelly bean dispensers.
Mooney said minors will never be permitted inside, and none of her employees have complained to her.
“Absolutely not. No, we go above and beyond to ensure our staff are comfortable and secure,” she insisted.