A lego minifig wearing a parka holds a fishing pole into a hole in ice

An Ohio Mayor Makes Bizarre Claim That Ice Fishing Would Lead To Prostitution

At a recent city council meeting in Hudson, Ohio, council members were discussing the subject of ice fishing. Apparently, residents had been asking to be able to ice fish on the frozen Hudson Springs Lake, which is currently prohibited.

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Council President Chris Foster noted that there had been fatalities in the past, but the town’s mayor, Republican Craig Shubert saw other problems with the idea: a slippery slope to sex work.

“If you open this up to ice fishing, while on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year?” Shubert asked. “Does someone come back and say, ‘I want an ice shanty on Hudson Springs Park, for X amount of time?’ And then if you allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem: prostitution. And now you’ve got the police chief and the police department involved.”

“Just data points to consider,” Shubert concluded without providing any actual data points, leaving his colleagues and the small number of people in attendance in a silent, confused stupor.

If Shubert is basing this theory on anything at all, it seems to be an urban legend from 30 years ago. According to the Washington Post:

Theories about prostitutes frequenting ice shanties on winter weekends date back to at least 1988, when some reported that as many as 10,000 men gathered on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake over the weekends to pay for sex, the Associated Press reported. But the folk tale has seemingly remained just that — a fish story. Back then, authorities said they had made no arrests on prostitution charges related to fishing houses.

This isn’t the first time Shubert has expressed some, uh, creative theories about sex. HuffPost’s Liz Skalka writes:

Last year, he argued that Hudson school board members should be held accountable for “pornographic content” in schools. Among the materials he found objectionable was a book called “642 Things to Write About.” Two of the book’s prompts involved a sex scene. An investigation into Shubert’s conduct at a school board meeting revealed that those specific prompts had never even been assigned.

Unfortunately, that claim, while baseless, was salacious enough to get people riled up and “once the scandal made national headlines and school board members started receiving death threats.” At least his ice fishing story doesn’t seem likely to garner the same support.

Hudson City Councilwoman Nicole Kowalski told the Post that she was “astounded” by Shubert’s ice fishing remarks and that she’s “been contacted by many residents who have expressed dismay that the Mayor continually embarrasses our town with wild claims.”

(image: Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.