SAN FRANCISCO – The principal of a Palo Alto middle school may not invite a popular speaker back to an annual career day after he told girls they could earn a good living as strippers.
Management consultant William Fried told eighth-graders at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School on Tuesday that stripping and exotic dancing can pay $250,000 or more per year, depending on their bust size.
“It’s sick, but it’s true,” Fried said in an interview later. “The truth of the matter is you can earn a tremendous amount of money as an exotic dancer, if that’s your desire.”
Fried has given a popular 55-minute presentation, “The Secret of a Happy Life,” at the school’s career day the past three years. He counsels students to experiment with a variety of interests until they discover something they love and excel in.
But school principal Joseph Di Salvo said Fried may not be back next year.
The principal said Fried’s comments to the class came after some of them asked him to expand on why he included “exotic dancing” on his list of 140 potential careers.
Fried spent about a minute answering questions, defining strippers and exotic dancers synonymously. According to Jason Garcia, 14, he told students: “For every 2 inches up there, you should get another $50,000 on your salary.”
“A couple of students egged him and he took it hook, line and sinker,” said Di Salvo, who also said the students took advantage of a substitute teacher overseeing the session.
“It’s totally inappropriate,” Di Salvo said. “It’s not OK by me. I would want my presenters to kind of understand that they are coming into a career day for eighth-graders.”
That stripping advice wasn’t the only thing that riled parents. Di Salvo said one mother said she was outraged when her son announced that he was forgoing college for a field he loves: fishing.
“He really focused on finding what you really love to do,” said Mariah Cannon, 13.
Fried, 64, said he does not think he offended any of the students: “Eighth-grade kids are not dumb,” he said. “They are pretty worldly.”