What was the deal with Chuck Berry and those bathroom cameras?
Berry owned the Southern Air restaurant in Wentzville, Missouri, a landmark on Interstate 70–although he was never able to get a liquor license because of his armed-robbery conviction back in 1944. At the end of 1989, Hosana Huck, a cook at the Southern Air, sued the 63-year-old Berry, saying that he had made videotapes of her changing clothes in the bathroom and using the toilet. The unwillingly naked chef was soon joined by many others who claimed they had been videotaped, either at the Southern Air or at the rocker’s “Berry Park” estate; sixty women filed a class-action lawsuit. Although Berry ultimately conceded the hidden-camera tapes existed, he claimed ignorance as to who had made them.
The following year, unsurprisingly, the Southern Air went out of business. At the end of 1994, after the Supreme Court declined to hear Berry’s appeal, he quietly settled all the videotape suits for about $1.3 million, putting the lie to his claim in his song “Thirty Days” that if he got no satisfaction from the judge, he would take it to the FBI as a personal grudge.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)