Waitress Applicants Videotaped Naked
Mar 26, 8:38 am ET
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At least 82 women were secretly videotaped naked or partly undressed while applying for jobs at a Los Angeles-area Hooters restaurant and changing into the chain's distinctive uniform, police said on Thursday.
Detectives in the Los Angeles suburb of West Covina were interviewing the women, who range in age from 17 to 25, after seizing 180 video files from the personal computer of former Hooters manager Juan Aponte, police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
"The videos were of the women changing into and out of the Hooters uniform," Lopez said, and were taken while they applied for a job at the restaurant, which is scheduled to open in April, at a trailer on the construction site.
At the interview they were told to change into the uniform of bright orange shorts and a white tank-top bearing the Hooters logo and were surreptitiously videotaped, he said.
"We're taking photographs of the girls in the videotapes and comparing them with the applications and that's who we're trying to contact," Lopez said, adding that while more than 1,200 women had applied it appeared that not all were taped.
"They are appalled," Lopez said of the victims. "They are angry, upset, emotional and had absolutely no knowledge this had taken place."
Lopez said Aponte, 32, had not been arrested but that detectives hoped to present a case to prosecutors for possible charges within days. He said Hooters officials had been "very, very cooperative" in the investigation.
Aponte's lawyer, Brian Michaels, declined to comment on the details of the case, but said, "We've been cooperative with the police and we're going to remain cooperative to the extent that it helps my client and clears this matter."
Mike McNeil, a spokesman for Hooters, said the Atlanta-based restaurant chain was disturbed by the case.
"The restaurant chain is in no way implicated in this," McNeil said. "In our 21-year history we've never seen anything like this before and we're very concerned about it. We're doing everything we can to cooperate."
McNeil said Hooters applicants were not expected to model uniforms during job interviews, adding: "This manager was in clear violation of our written policies and then went beyond that and appears to have broken the law."