Politician Pushes Bill to Make Vulgar Photoshopping Illegal
Earnest Smith had his head edited on to a porn star's body.
After the head of a state lawmaker in Georgia was placed on a porn star's body via the use of Photoshop, he is now pushing for a bill that would ban lewd Photoshopping.
Rep. Earnest Smith pointed towards the image created by a blogger who used it to mock the politician. Outraged with the photo, he is now backing a bill that would see lewd Photoshopping become a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine. The legislator stressed that he's not worried that the bill would violate First Amendment rights.
"Everyone has a right to privacy," he told Fox News. "No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right." When asked for details on the bill, the lawmaker refused to do so. "At this juncture, I am not at liberty to share anything with you. I don’t have to. If and when this bill passes we can revisit the issue and if I choose to give you details at that time I will, but until then I don’t have to tell you anything," he said.
Smith initially introduced the legislation in 2012 after a teenage girl was subjected to "online attacks," but decided to renew efforts to see it being passed after viewing a picture of his head Photoshopped on the body of a naked man stretched out on rocks.
The bill’s summary said it would make it a misdemeanor offense to modify a photograph that "causes an unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction." Upon being asked if he thought the bill would target parodies, which are protected by the First Amendment, he stressed that it didn't matter.
"They (parody creators) live for something like this," Smith said. "They are vulgar. This is about being vulgar. We’re becoming a nation of vulgar people." Another lawmaker responded to the bill by stating that Smith is "the conductor of his own crazy train."
Behind the Photoshopped pictures of Smith was Georgia Politics Unfiltered blogger Andre Walker. "I did exactly what Rep. Smith wants to make illegal," Walker said on the bill, which he branded as "asinine." "I pasted a picture of Smith’s head onto the body of a male porn star."
"The first Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects all forms of speech, not just spoken word. It attempts to regulate speech and I doubt it would stand up in a court of law. I cannot believe Rep. Earnest Smith thinks I’m insulting him by putting his head on the body of a well-built porn star."