Tuesday, October 18, 2011

legally binding?

"She's dominant in her private life."
      -- Gloria Allred about Alisha Smith
Alisha Smith, an Assistant State's Attorney General for the State of New York, resigned from her position yesterday amid scandal and allegations that she was moonlighting as a paid professional dominatrix.

Smith made the announcement in a news conference, where she was joined by her attorney, Gloria Allred. Described by one source as simply a "high powered attorney" but by another as a "celebrity rabble-rousing lawyer", Allred appears to be a controversial figure in her own right.

Allegedly known as "Alisha Spark" in the BDSM scene, the Attorney General's office suspended Smith last month over allegations that she had used her fetish activities as a secondary source of income to her $78,000 a year position in the Attorney General's office.  It's established policy in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office that employees must seek permission to engage in activities earning more than $1,000.

Smith says that she was asked a number of intimate and personal questions about her sexual habits and proclivities while under investigation by her employer, and she feels mistreated by the suspension without pay.  At yesterday's news conference, Ms. Smith and her attorney appeared to be laying the groundwork for some kind of future legal action.

Here are a pair of quotes from that event so you can decide her future intentions for yourself:
"All their actions towards me have been extremely disturbing because I have never accepted any money or payment from any outside source for anything while I have been employed by the NY Attorney General's office," Alisha Smith said.
"Employers do not have the right to go on fishing expeditions into an employee private sexual activities and an employee should not have to sacrifice their privacy about their sex life in order to keep a job," Gloria Allred said.
I agree that employees deserve a measure of privacy, I'd even agree that they should be free from "fishing expeditions" into their private sexual activities.  I'll even go so far as to take Alisha Smith's words and statements all at face value.

Under the premise that we are innocent until proven guilty, and lacking any concrete evidence to the contrary, I think it's best to move forward with the assumption that Ms Smith did not accept any money in return for scenes as a dominatrix.

It's not difficult to imagine that Alisha and Jade Vixen conspired together in dominating paid clients.  Good submissives are hard to find, so it's not beyond belief that one Domme decided to share a submissive male with her friend. Assuming Ms Vixen alone received compensation, the submissive client still might leave with the impression that Ms Smith was part of the package, part of the service that had been purchased.

If that scenario is anywhere close to what actually occurred, a practicing attorney might satisfy themselves that they were within the law, having scrupulously avoided accepting any compensation.  What she likely failed to consider is that when working for an elected official, the appearance of impropriety is as bad as the actual act.

Is it "fair" that Alisha Smith lose her job because she has a passion for dominance?  Nope
Is it "fair" that Alisha Smith lose her job because she was a play partner to a pro domme? Nope
Is it "fair" that Alisha Smith lose her job because she choose to attend BDSM play parties?  Nope

The problem is when we put all of those questions together . . .

By playing at public BDSM parties Alisha Smith took her sexuality into a public arena, voluntarily losing at least some measure of privacy.  Twittering back and forth with a friend left behind a record of attending at least one of those events.  The fact that the friend is a sex professional further complicates the issue.

None of that is a terrible problem for you or me, but the rules are a bit different when working for a public official.  Let's be honest with each other here, ok?  There is a higher standard that applies when your salary is paid for by tax dollars.  The rules really are a bit different when working for somebody who's elected.

No matter how much we might wish to stand for sexual freedoms, there is no getting around the fact that going to BDSM play parties in the company of professional Dominatrix Jade Vixen while an employee of the Attorney General's office was an act of extremely poor judgement.

Alisha Smith should have realized the danger her extra-curricular activities would pose to a public figure. She should have recognized the dangerous position in which she had placed herself.  While the BDSM community as a whole is becoming more and more tolerant, that's not necessarily the trend among registered voters.

I'm not a fan of frivolous lawsuits, and I'm a strong believer in self discipline, in self responsibility.  I hope everyone here just walks away a bit wiser.

I think it's time to move on over to private practice Alisha, not because you have any reason to be ashamed of what you have done, but because you are worth more than $78K.  I'd think a beautiful, intelligent, not to mention powerful, woman such as yourself could do better simply allowing men to grovel at your feet, occasionally flicking a whip or unleashing an insult.

That is one Dom's view.

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