Mayor Jones Flip Flops on Free the Nip; Art Festival Excuse

Updated 2 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has bowed to pressure and rescinded his "accommodation" of the "Free the Nip..." march due to concerns of children in the area, according to a press release.

Organizers are expected to comment soon. ( See separate story).


“I have been hearing many concerns expressed from people involved with FestivALL because there will be plenty of children downtown very close to where the demonstrators have expressed a desire to hold a naked spectacle,” Mayor Jones said.  “If they are unwilling to consider another time for the march, that would indicate to me that they are simply seeking to parade naked in front of young children.”

The release continued:

“While the city is willing to work with people to exercise their rights of free expression, we would hope that this demonstration does not create a spectacle of naked women that could otherwise sully the very family-friendly and child-friendly event that FestivALL is in our city,” Mayor Jones continued.  “I am also concerned that the publicity this proposed march has received might end up attracting interest from vagrants and others more interested in naked women and less interested in free expression or their cause.”

The Children's Art Fair is scheduled in front of the Kanawha Public Library on Capitol Street. Rally organizers had planned to use Capitol Street but opted out for Summers or Court Street. They have now moved the starting point to Davis Park @ 6 p.m.

Earlier , Jones told the Charleston Gazette a location move was not an alternative: "We really don't have anywhere to go."

In some cities , a sign has been posted that informs that the next block(s) may contain for some offensive displays which some may consider unsuitable for children. (Similar to the movie rating system).

One FestivALL participant had welcomed the rally as a form of art. Nudity has been a part of free expression for centuries.

Jones left open negotiations for another date and  indicated he had the city attorney checking options.

The 5-6 p.m. rally may opt to change the times , location or date. A date change would place it outside of FESTIVALL , the arts celebration , and likely make it easier for legal enforcement.

Jones did not contact the organizer first before making the public announcement.

"How very political to say one thing in private & another thing publicly," Sarah Starks, one of two organizers said. " When I spoke to Mayor Danny Jones,  I said after speaking to FestivALL organizers, I was contemplating moving the march to Court St, and he encouraged me not to move it. Not surprising.

Kenova resident Joel Thompson, wrote on Facebook:


"Mayor Jones and I care about the same thing (protecting children), but with a different mindset. I want to protect them from passing on the ridiculous puritanical tradition that female (ONLY female) breasts are somehow too sexual to be seen in public (like thighs or even ankles were once upon a time). He wants to protect them from being aware of the beauty of breasts before they're old enough...or something like that."



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