Defending the First Amendment Right to Profanity

Friday, February 10, 2012


In the wake of MIA's bird-flipping performance at the Super Bowl and Gisele Bundchen's post-game profanity, Bob talks to Mary Prevost, a lawyer representing a California sports fan's who was ejected from a football game for swearing. Prevost says that ejecting him from the park was a violation of his First Amendment rights.

MIA - Paper Planes

Comments [11]

Mary Frances Prevost from San Diego

I represent Eric Holguin, the police officer who was exonerated in this case. and I represent Jason Ensign, the male nurse, who is suing Mr.Mitchel's client. Mr. Mitchel has a duty and obligation not to comment falsely on pending litigation. It is part and parcel of the California Rules of Professional Responsibility, as well as the Business and Professions Code. A conservative, right wing judge, hear all of the evidence, and determined that Mr. Ensign was not only "not guilty" but actually innocent. Mr. Mitchel's statements are not in the course of litigation, defamatory and therefore, not protected speech.

Mar. 12 2012 06:24 PM

Profanity just means you exercise a lack of imagination.

Feb. 18 2012 10:50 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I object to the euphemistic use of the initials F.U. Those of us of a certain age know they stand for Felix Unger. I far prefer t White House spokes-model Jay Carney's novel formulation not to "muck things up". Say "Muck you!" to a cop while standing still and try not to be arrested if not pepper sprayed or beaten up!

Feb. 17 2012 04:43 AM
Mary from San Diego

At PL from Seattle: I did not say the cop would not retaliate. But if he did, it is a dead-bang winner lawsuit for the individual assaulted.

Feb. 16 2012 09:43 PM
PL from Seattle

I cannot believe Garfield allowed the lawyer to get away with 'there's nothing he can do about it' if you drive by a cop and say F.U.'
Is it lonely on Pluto? That the officer might not prevail in a court of law is a far different question than what a PO'd cop would do. Let me put it another way: I dare the lawyer to try it. Say 10 times. I look forward to Garfield's follow up interview.

Feb. 15 2012 04:44 PM
Jim Mitchell

I represent the security guard who had his jaw broken by the fan Ms. Prevost represented.This happened when her client refused to leave the game peaceably after being asked, and then resisted no less than six security guards who tried to remove him. He was not ejected solely because he was screaming profanity at other fans, but because he was visibly drunk (hammered) and disorderly,was bothering other fans and making a complete nuisance of himself to the point of interfering with their enjoying the game. The SD Chargers/NFL had the right and the duty to 86 him from the game.The First Amendment had nothing to do with the fan's misconduct.

Feb. 15 2012 12:45 PM
Christopher Howell from San Diego

It’s ironic that this story about a football fan being arrested in San Diego for an alleged speech violation is aired on OTM in February. 100 years ago this month speakers in San Diego on soapboxes were speaking out for workers to join the IWW in what was called the Free Speech Fights. These speaking events were occurring all over the U.S. at that time and were put down quite violently by police and vigilantes, the most notorious of which occurred in San Diego. Prominent labor activists such as Emma Goldman came and were hosed down by the fire dept, arrested, severely beaten, run out of town and tar and feathered. I support the lawyer from San Diego in her defense of her football fan client.

Feb. 12 2012 09:56 PM
Andrew M from Santa Rosa CA

You can't yell fire in a crowded theater. We now have a major problem in sports stadiums with people getting beaten up to the point of brain injury. Isn't saying the F word a form of hate speech?

This lawyer's claim you can say F-- to a cop is hilarious. Just try it and see what happens.

So why didn't you interview someone with the opposing view of the lawyer you interviewed? This was an interesting story, but the way you played it made it one sided, and by giving her the only word, makes it seem as if you view her view as being unquestionably correct.

Feb. 12 2012 05:40 PM
Phil Kay from NYC

I'm perplexed. Charges that flow from what started as an unlawful arrest must be thrown out? Including resisting being taken into custody or assaulting an officer? Does that mean you have a right to shoot him, too? He is armed and, however misguided, determined to take you in, after all. I was always taught that under the law the courtroom was the only place to challenge police misconduct.

Feb. 12 2012 01:00 PM

Dame Madonna on MIA:
"I understand it's punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy, and positivity. It seemed negative. It's one of the those things, it's such a teenager, irrelevant thing to do...what was the point? It was just out of place," she added.

These words from that old, serial crotch-grabber herself, Madonna Louise Ciccone? And in what sense is MIA "punk rock" or even related to it? And isn't most rock music "a teenager, irrelevant thing to do," and isn't that while we find it fun, Madonna?

Feb. 11 2012 04:48 PM
chascates from Central Texas

I'm happy to hear Bob mention his wife (despite the context of her comments to the umpire--she's a natural baseball fan if there ever was one). I've missed his imitation of his wife's speech patterns and was afraid his marital status had changed.

Feb. 10 2012 10:50 PM

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