Czech MP shows gay porn at Prague City Hall to protest rental contract

Kateřina Klasnová (VV) gives graphic presentation in bid to have Prague 1 evict gay sauna she says is also offering sex services

Society
Brian Kenety | 15.11.2011

Public Affairs (VV) deputy chairman Kateřina Klasnová came up with a novel way of getting the full attention of Prague 1 district councilors  at a recent meeting. Convinced that a company renting out city-owned property operating a sauna and gym with a gay clientele is also offering sexual services, she got her message across by projecting shots of in flagrante delicto gay sex — albeit with the naughty bits censored.

“The essential parts, unfortunately, I blackened out. I’m sorry if I shocked anyone,” MP Klasnová, who represents the district in the lower house of Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies), told the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

On her webpage, Klasnová, who studied theology at Charles University, says that her life motto is “The starry sky above me, the moral code within me.” And she insists that there is more than meets the eye to Sauna Babylonia, which bills itself as “the most popular gay sauna in Prague.”

Sauna Babylonia, operating since 1998, offers clients standard service like steam baths, whirlpools, and Swedish sauna — as well as “relaxation cabins and a spacious restroom provided with video.” Operating hours are from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m.; men under the age of 23 get a discount, it proclaims on its website.

Klasnová told ČTK that on numerous Internet sites, patrons of Sauna Babylonia have shared their experiences in finding gay prostitutes (sometimes known as “rent boys”) and sex partners at the sauna. She added that the 480-square meter facility is rented out for Kč 430,000 per year — below market rate, in her estimation. “I have repeatedly drawn attention to the situation, but the [Prague 1] council extended the lease for another five years,” she told the news agency.

Steam bath or brothel? 

In the Czech Republic, prostitution is in something of a gray area. Prague has scores of brothels, for both heterosexual and homosexuals alike, operating in the open — but the Sauna Babylonia rental agreement explicitly states that sexual services cannot be provided on the premises, located on Martinská Street at the base of Wenceslas Square.

Prague 1 mayor Ulrich Lomecký (TOP 09) said City Hall will have the claims checked out. “The images that she projected here are not conclusive,” he said, adding that it doesn’t mean Klasnová is wrong, and promising controls will get to the bottom of it all. ‘I think it is natural in our business that two people meet and go together [into a sauna, etc.] What happens next is their affair.’

Sauna Babylonia owner Jan Ševčík, meanwhile, says the claims are outrageous. “No erotic or sexual services are offered. I’m running a sauna, gym and steam room – it’s purely for relaxation. If Ms. Klasnová has a problem with the fact that our sauna is meant for gay men, then that’s discrimination,” the news server iDNES.cz quoted him as saying.

Ševčík, who said he got the lease in 1997 through a “proper tender,” added that what happens behind closed doors is no one else’s business. “We live in a democratic state; for years now gay couples can have registered partnerships. I think it is natural in our business that two people meet and go together [into a sauna, etc.],” he said.

“What happens next is their affair.” 

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