Sunday, November 28, 2021

Artist Suing Police for Violating her Constitutional Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho and Co-counsel have filed a lawsuit against Idaho State Police on behalf of the Visual Arts Collective, Alley Repertory Theater, and performance artist Anne McDonald. McDonald is claiming the police violated her free speech by reprimanding her for a partially nude performance. Her burlesque show was hosted by the Visual Arts Collective. According to police, McDonald was in violation of the Idaho Code Section 23-614(a), which states that the following acts upon premises with an alcohol license will be penalized:
“(a)  Employment or use of any person, including allowing any person on the premises, while such person is unclothed or in such attire, costume or clothing as to expose to view any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola or of any portion of the pubic hair, anus, cleft of the buttocks, vulva or genitals.

(b)  Employment or use of any person who touches, caresses or fondles the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals of any other person, or who is so touched, caressed or fondled by another person.

(c)  Employment or use of any person to wear or use any device or covering, exposed to view, which simulates the breast, genitals, anus, pubic hair or any portion thereof.

(d)  Employment or use of any person to perform acts of or acts which simulate sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law.”

McDonald maintains her performance addresses “gender issues, sexuality, gay rights, and politics…no part of the evening’s performance was obscene,” and that the police violated her constitutional rights to free expression, equal protection and due process.

The ACLU reported a statement from attorney Deborah Ferguson, Co-counsel to the ACLU on the case: “Idaho’s alcoholic beverage laws are unconstitutional because of the limits placed on free speech and artistic expression in Idaho. We are asking the court to strike down the statute so that Idahoans have the opportunity to enjoy the arts without government censorship,”

The lawsuit is filed in federal court. The ACLU seeks an immediate injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.


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