"> Name: T Shirt Censorship

Date:  2006-present

Location:  North America

SubjectExplicit Sexuality

MediumPublic art

image description
Artist: Jack Roberts (self)

Confronting Bodies: Franklin County (OH)Sheriff Deputy Wood Badge #452 'John' (Last name Unknown

Date of Action: June 22, 2013

Specific Location: Southwest Public Library 4740 West Broad St Columbis, OH 43228

Description of Artwork: Red T shirt with the phrase "Ex-Masturbator" printed in white lettering on front of shirt

Description of Incident: I wore the shirt into the library as I was looking for internet access. A man (John) accosted me about 5 minutes after I entered and told me that someone had complained that my shirt was offensive. I was told that I had to either turn the shirt inside out or leave. I thought momentarily about turning my shirt inside out but decided against doing so as it was not offensive in my opinion. I turned away from John and said "Screw you" then walked out the door. As soon as I left though I had the thought that I wanted to file a formal complaint against the library in general and John in particular so I re-entered. Upon doing so deputy Wood was on me like a wet T shirt insisting that I leave as I was trespassing. I told him that my only intent was to get John's name as it was unknown to me at the time. After some verbal repartee with threat of arrest to myself several times I did obtain the first name of the man who originally confronted me. No one else in the library said anything about my shirt or about me except John and Deputy Wood.

Results of Incident: I filed complaints with the library offices which were answered with the message that standard library policy was followed. I also filed a complaint with the Franklin County (OH) sheriff's department about Deputy Woods' conduct and was essentially told the same thing, that no misconduct was found on the part of the deputy. I contacted the ACLU and my local bar association who advised me that though my complaint seemed valid my only recourse was to hire an attorney at my own expense. I didn't feel that I could afford this so I relented.

Source: I have emails that I sent myself after the incident.

Submitted By: Jack Roberts

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