PETA fights for First Amendment rights
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2002:
SALT LAKE CITY, WASHINGTON D.C.–People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals on August 7, 2002 won rulings that supporters’
First Amendment rights to freedom of expression were violated in both
Taylorsville, Utah, in 1999, and in Washington D.C. earlier in
In Taylorsville, police stopped a series of protests against
the display of a McDonald’s Restaurants banner on the flagpole at
Eisenhower Junior High School, in recognition of McDonald’s
donations to school activities. PETA sued, but in June 2001 U.S.
District Judge Dee Benson ruled that the police action was in accord
with state law. That ruling was overturned by the 10th Circuit Court
of Appeals, which found that the law Benson cited is inapplicable.
The appellate court said that PETA may sue for financial damages,
but may not seek to overturn the law itself because, “There is no
credible threat of prosecution under the statute for any future
protests at Eisenhower.”
In Washington D.C., U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon
ruled that the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities unfairly
rejected an entry from PETA in assembling a street exhibit of 200
statues of cheerful donkeys and elephants in various whimsical and
satirical costumes and poses. PETA sought to display a weeping
elephant in chains, bearing an anti-circus message. The exhibit
debuted in April, and was to run until Labor Day.
PETA and the American Civil Liberties Union have a First
Amendment suit pending against the city of Shreveport, Louisiana,
for the alleged false arrest, imprisonment, and prosecution of
activists Kristie Phelps of Virginia, Susan Gross of Shreveport,
and Cynthia Lieberman of Colorado, at an anti-circus demonstration
on May 29, 2001. All three were charged with obstructing a public
way, and Lieberman was additionally charged with performing an
obscene act, by posing in a cage wearing a bikini bottom, pasties,
and body-painted tiger stripes. The Shreveport case was filed on May
Two days after her Shreveport arrest, Lieberman, 31, was
charged with essentially the same offense at an anti-circus rally in
Tulsa, Oklahoma. Four days after that, Kayla Worden, 40, of
Asheville, was arrested for trying to pose in the tiger costume in
Jackson, Mississippi. But one week later, Brandi Valladolid, 24,
drew notice but was not arrested for wearing the stripes in a cage in
downtown Oklahoma City.
The campaign continued in November with Lisa Franzetta, 27,
posing as the tiger. She was not arrested in Augusta, Georgia, but
was charged with disorderly conduct in Las Vegas.
Franzetta then took the act to Hong Kong in February 2002,
as an anti-fur protest. “Police observed but took no action,”
reported Agence France-Presse.