“Enhancement” of free speech

If you have not heard the name Charles Leo Warren III, get ready because he may soon become a household name.  And, like Leon Phelps, it’s all the fault of the wang.

Warren was convicted of “Distribution of Material Depicting Nudity or Sexual Conduct” when he sent a photo text of his wang to Shari Watson who is a married mother of young children.  Neither party knew each other, and Mrs. Watson had no idea of how Mr. Warren obtained her cell phone number.  Mr. Warren was likely showing off his tattoo on his wang which reads, “STRONG E nuf 4 A MAN BUT Made 4 A WOMAN.”  The guy either found a tattoo artist capable of microprinting, or dude is hung like a horse.  I don’t want to know either way though as the thought of getting a tat on the Johnson is painful enough on its own.

Georgia Code § 16-12-81 – Distribution of material depicting nudity or sexual conduct

a) A person commits the offense of distributing material depicting nudity or sexual conduct when he sends unsolicited through the mail or otherwise unsolicited causes to be delivered material depicting nudity or sexual conduct to any person or residence or office unless there is imprinted upon the envelope or container of such material in not less than eight-point boldface type the following notice:
“Notice — The material contained herein depicts nudity or sexual conduct. If the viewing of such material could be offensive to the addressee, this container should not be opened but returned to the sender.” 

*emphasis mine

Anyway, The Georgia Supreme Court is charged with determining whether Mr. Warren’s free speech is being impeded by the law which requires labeling of nudity or sexual content on the outside of the container of delivery.  In this particular case, there is no way to label the text message with the notice as there is no envelope or container used to send a text message.

Judging on the responses from some of the justices, the ruling may end up being one worth following.  From Online Athens.com:

In the packed courtroom Monday, Justice Keith Blackwell wondered aloud if the law makes it a crime for a newspaper to include a Coppertone sunscreen advertisement featuring a photo of a dog pulling down a girl’s bathing suit. Or would Reinhart College’s drama club break the law it if went to a park to act out the restaurant scene from “When Harry Met Sally” in which one character demonstrates the sounds of a fake orgasm because that’s a verbal depiction of nudity.

Justice David Nahmias noted that many parents at his 10-year-old son’s football games photograph the celebratory butt slapping after plays. Are they breaking the law to email them, he asked.

Given the age of the law and the technical advances since, I don’t see how it will be able to apply in the case where no container is present for the label.  As noted in the Online Athens article, even the Cherokee County ADA thinks it may have to go back to the legislature.  In about 4 – 6 months, we may soon find out if penises have a protected right of free speech.  If we can extend personhood to a corporation, which is a non-living entity, why would a penis not have the protected right of free speech?  We all know of a few d**ks who can’t shut their mouths, so it’s not like this will be some new precedent set.


8 thoughts on ““Enhancement” of free speech

  1. I thought naming it was enough Now we gotta deal with slogans on it? Nononononono…….

    Seriously, I understand free speech and I do know that a text doesn’t come with a subject line so you know not to open it. But if a picture like that showed up unsolicited on my phone (especially from a stranger), I’d be pretty mad. The justices need do find a “don’t shout ‘fire'” standard to establish here.


    • I thought naming it was enough Now we gotta deal with slogans on it? Nononononono…….

      I’m seeing a potential windfall of $$$$ for me if I can manage to get a corporation to pay for naming rights and ad placement on mine. Going to have to go write up a pitch tonight. 🙂

      I honestly think this one will end up with that law being updated to account for today’s technology.


      • I think you’ve hit on the explanation for this whole incident!

        I was musing about your corporate pitch. Many long years ago I worked in corporate PR. When I bought ad space, one factor I considered carefully was reach –how many members of my desired demographic would see the ad. As it happens, all the companies I worked for marketed mostly to men or equally to each sex. If you were marketing mostly to women, though, I can see how you’d use different media than the ones I considered a good fit for the companies I worked for.

        So, okay, you might be able to find corporate media buyers who’d agree that the space you were selling was a desirable one for reaching their particular demo. Then you’d have to convince them their ad would be viewed by A LOT of members of their target market.

        A few guys in the NBA could make a compelling case for that, but it would be trickier for an ordinary family man with a wife in bed beside him to guarantee the proper exposure.

        Unless, of course, he did it by texting photos of the ad to random women. Which is exactly what Warren did!

        Long story short, could this have been a new model in social marketing brought to us by the good people at Procter & Gamble?

        If so, I might recommend you take your pitch to Johnson & Johnson.



  2. In my opinion, this is one of those where it has nothing to do with “free speech” and everything to do with common sense, which in Mr. Warren’s case seems to be lacking.


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