Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents

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Featured Case


Date: 2006

Region: North America

Subject: Religious

Medium: Design Commercial Advertising

SantasButt.jpg

Artist: Shelton Brothers Brewers/ Daniel Shelton, a specialty beer distributor

Confronting Bodies: Maine government officials

Date of Action: 2006

Location: Portland, Maine USA

Description of Artwork: The label, intended to go on Shelton Brothers Brewers new beer they call "Santa’s Butt Winter Porter," features Santa’s fully-clothed derriere perched atop a barrel (or "butt") of beer. In addition to "Santa’s Butt," at question were "Les Sans Culottes," featuring Delacroix’s classic painting Liberty Leading the People, and "Rose de Gambrinus," featuring a watercolor painting of the king of Flanders sitting with a naked woman.

The Incident: The State of Maine refused permission to sell the above described Shelton Brothers Brewers’ beers because the State deemed their labels “undignified or improper”.

Rose.jpg
Results of Incident: On November 30, 2006, the Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation (MCLU) filed a case against government censorship on behalf of Daniel Shelton. With the help of MCLU, Shelton won the lawsuit; in a letter dated December 22, 2006, Maine’s Liqour Licensing Unit Inspector Supervisor Jeffrey Austin told Shelton Brothers Brewers that they could register the label for "Santa’s Butt Winter Porter." While Shelton did win his case, unfortunately the ruling did not come in time for the company to be able to get the label out onto the bottles for the 2006 Christmas season. The MCLU has not stopped there; they intend to continue fighting the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement ensuring that they stop censoring all labels.

Source: North Country Gazette: www.northcountrygazette.org
































What is Censorpedia?

Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.

Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.

Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by medium, by grounds for censorship, or explore a random case.

Activists can search for ongoing cases or contribute a case that is ongoing or recently resolved.

Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to add cases they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.

Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.

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