A bar owner in suburban Chicago is defending the years-long use of a two-way mirror in the women's restroom with full view of the toilet.
"This is a giant funhouse, ladies and gentlemen," Ronnie Lotz told reporters Monday evening. "I put a lot of heart and soul into this business, and I am sorry to tell you this, but there is no hanky panky going on in that bathroom."
The controversy surfaced when a comedian by the stage name of Tamale Rocks was performing a set at a bar in Chicago’s west suburbs when she visited the women’s restroom and noticed something strange – a full-length mirror directly across from the toilet.
Rocks opened the door behind the mirror and inside found a utility closet large enough to stand in. From the other side she noticed you were able to see through the mirror and into the stall at Berwyn’s Cigars and Stripes.
Shocked, Rocks recorded her findings and posted the video on YouTube. In less than 24 hours the video had garnered more than 70,000 views.
"Why, when I go into a public bathroom, when there's an expectation of privacy, am I having to do that due diligence? It's a bathroom!" Rocks told NBC Chicago.
Many women questioned by NBC Chicago were uncomfortable with the idea of the mirror, and some reported that they were not aware of the two-way mirror at all.
The owner of Cigars & Stripes, located at 6715 Ogden Ave., Ronnie Lotz, first told Gawker’s Jezebel that they have a two-way mirror in their restroom, and it’s been there for nearly 15 years, since since 2001.
In further comment to the publication, the bar's owner reportedly said the bar used to hang a witch's head in the closet as a Halloween gag so that women would look into the closet after using the restroom and "be all weirded out."
He invited people to “come see my mirror; eat my chicken wings,” adding that he enjoyed the attention from those outraged by the mirror because, afterall, he's "selling chicken wings.”
The bar has since shared Jezebel's article on their Facebook page. The owner told NBC Chicago that he has no plans to remove the mirror.
While many are outraged, others don't see the issue. "Ronnie is a great guy and he's not doing anything wrong," said Steven Cusek, a bar patron who said he goes once a week for the last 2 years.
"I'm kinda mad there's not one in the men's restroom," Cusek joked.
However, Rocks and others aren't laughing. While the bar owner maintains that no recordings were made, Rocks isn't convinced that a two-way mirror with a full view of the toilet is a good idea.
"I didn't see anyone, thankfully, at that point, there wasn't anyone," Rocks told NBC Chicago, "but there's nothing to say that there hadn't been in the past."
The Berwyn Police Department is investigating.