Skip to main content

Mural Resistance: Judge Rules If Trump Can Spout Obscenities, So Can Artists


Neal Morris Photo

Marking the unholy first time "an American president's public pronouncements have been deemed too scabrous for repetition," a federal judge ruled this week that New Orleans officials violated an artist's freedom of speech when they tried to censor a mural quoting Trump's infamous "Access Hollywood" pussy profanities. The mural was created in November 2017 after warehouse owner and real estate developer Neal Morris gave permission to street artist Cashy D to paint it on a Morris property on South Liberty Street. The mural is in fact less offensive than the foul-mouthed fuehrer's own words: Starting with, "I moved on her like a bitch," it replaces "bitch," "tits" and "pussy" with cartoon-like pictograms. "I thought it was a great idea,” Morris said. “I think what the president said is horrendous and awful...and anything that helps an artist resist, I am in favor of.”
Others disagreed. A neighbor complained about pictures of breasts "where the school bus comes by" - no word on what she thinks of a president who publicly leers about them - and city officials slapped a fine and ban on Morris, citing labyrinthian, possibly non-existent regulations overseen by a murky cabal of review boards and planning commissions. The ACLU sued the city, calling its rules “a multi-pronged assault on the First and 14th Amendments” by requiring artists to "obtain government approval before engaging in their constitutionally protected freedom of expression.” Judge Martin Feldman concurred, deeming the rules illegally "indistinct, shapeless and obscure" and declaring "the loss of First Amendment freedoms constitutes irreparable injury," a ruling the ACLU called "a victory (for) artistic expression." Morris was already ahead of them: To protest the city's "dumpster fire of a process" to decide what is and isn't art, he'd established a renegade Mural Project boasting exuberant acts of civil disobedience, aka street art, all around the city. "All you have to do to enjoy it," he says, "is to look up.”
Morris' response to the city's ban. Photo by Max Becherer/AP

Another outlaw mural by @craigcundiff

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article