Illegal T-shirt


Illegal T-shirt

This is a listing of cases where the sale or wearing of specific items of clothing carrying slogans has been illegal or subject to legal challenge. T-shirts are the usual garment used for this purpose.

Britain

There have been arrests in Britain of people wearing T-shirts bearing the phrase "Bollocks to Blair". This has provoked much debate on whether Britain's freedom of speech is being eroded. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/30/do3004.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/04/30/ixop.html Wear an anti-Blair jacket... and you'll have your collar felt - Telegraph ] ] .
* In September 2005, 20-year-old Charlotte Dennis was arrested at a Gloucestershire event for wearing this item [ [http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/392/68779.html Girl arrested over Bollocks to Blair shirt - Hunting news - Horse & Hound ] ]
* In April 2006, a Conservative Party worker was threatened with arrest for wearing a "Bollocks to Blair" T-shirt [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4955488.stm BBC NEWS | England | London | Arrest threat over anti-PM jacket ] ] .
* In a non-political case in August 2007, a man was warned he could be fined for wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "don't piss me off, I'm running out of places to hide the bodies" [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/6943734.stm BBC NEWS | England | Cambridgeshire | Fine threat over T-shirt slogan ] ] .
* The band Cradle of Filth have produced a highly blasphemous t-shirt discussed here, which has been the cause of prosecutions from the late 1990s

outh Africa

Anti-apartheid

During South Africa's apartheid era, Robin Houston Holmes was charged with the production and distribution of illegal material for creating and distributing anti-apartheid T-shirts, reading "We are Everywhere, Even in your Kitchen" and "Mxenge, The Struggle Continues," as well one featuring activist Steve Biko. Holmes was later granted amnesty for his actions. [ [http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/1998/98918_0x4149810476.htm Trc Statement On "Illegal" T-Shirts Amnesty ] ]

United States

"Fuck the Draft"

In "Cohen v. California" 403 U.S. 15 (1971) Paul Robert Cohen, 19, was arrested for wearing a jacket with the words "Fuck the Draft" inside the Los Angeles Courthouse. He was convicted of violating section 415 of the California Penal Code, which prohibits "maliciously and willfully [disturbing the peace (crime)|disturb [ing] the peace] or quiet of any neighborhood or person [by] offensive conduct."

The conviction was appealed to the state Court of Appeals, which held that "offensive conduct" means "behavior which has a tendency to provoke others to acts of violence or to in turn disturb the peace," and affirmed the conviction.

The Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, overturned the appellate court's ruling. It said::"Absent a more particularized and compelling reason for its actions, the State may not, consistently with the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment, make the simple public display of this single four-letter expletive a criminal offense."

"George W. Bush: International Terrorist"

A high school junior in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Bretton Barber, was asked to remove his anti-George W. Bush T-shirt in the lead up to the Iraq War. It featured a picture of Bush with the words "International Terrorist." He was asked to remove it because it supported terrorism. [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0226-04.htm High School] The student sued his school district and his principal in Federal District Court in Detroit, Michigan ("Bretton Barber v. Dearborn Public Schools" [286 F. Supp. 2d 847] ). In a 25-page published opinion, Barber won the lawsuit, and his high school was ordered to allow him to wear the shirt.

"Give Peace a Chance"

In the leadup to the Iraq War, a man was asked to leave a shopping mall by a security guard because of his "Give Peace a Chance" T-shirt. [http://www.indexonline.org/en/indexindex/articles/2003/1/arrested-for-wearing-peace-t-shirt.shtmlDead link|date=May 2008]

"Meet the Fuckers"

In October 2005, Lorrie Heasley, of Portland, Oregon, was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in Reno, Nevada for wearing a T-shirt displaying an image of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Michael Chertoff and Michael Brown with the caption "Meet the Fuckers," spoofing the film title "Meet the Fockers". [ [http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/06/news/fortune500/southwest_shirt Southwest boots woman from flight over a T-shirt - 7 October 2005 ] ]

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References

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