Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire

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Date: 1942

Region: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Public Art


Artist: Chaplinsky

Confronting Bodies: State of New Hampshire

Dates of Action: 1942

Location: New Hampshire

Description of Artwork: Exchange of insults on the street.

The Incident: "Under NH.'s Offensive Conduct law (chap.378, para. 2 of the H.Public Laws) it is illegal for anyone to address another person with 'any offensive, derisive or annoying word to anyone who is lawfully in any street or public place.'"

Results of Incident: The case went to the Supreme Court which declared that the case did not fall under the category of "fighting words" and was not protected by the laws pertaining to free speech.

Source: the Encyclopedia of Censorship, J. Green, Facts on File, '93 pg.48