This timeline tracks free expression issues that arose following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police on March 25, 2020. It is a working document that will be updated to reflect new developments. If you have something to add, please use our Report Censorship form. 5/25/20 George Floyd Killed by [...]
President Donald Trump is once again attempting to interfere with the publication of a book that he believes is critical of him. On June 16, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the June 23 release of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, a book by John R. Bolton, Trump’s former national [...]
On June 15, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and PEN America joined in protesting Zoom’s decision to close the account of Humanitarian China, a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes the development of human rights in China. Zoom acted at the request of Chinese officials who wanted to suppress a virtual meeting commemorating the [...]
Rhetorically framed as defense of free speech, the President’s Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, is exactly the opposite: an attempt to intimidate social media platforms into yielding to the president’s views of what speech should be allowed online. While we agree that social media platforms “function in many ways as a 21st-century equivalent of the public square” and share [...]
As misinformation proliferates, protests escalate, and the 2020 U.S. presidential election looms, how much should social media companies regulate the content on their platforms? Rules and regulations are changing as social media giants are figuring out how to wield their unprecedented power over information. As an organization committed to free expression, we welcome efforts to provide more information, alternative sources [...]
Update 5/27/2020 – The online marketplace Redbubble has reinstated the sale of the editorial cartoon that criticizes President Trump. Original Post 5/27/2020 – The National Coalition Against Censorship has joined the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) and other free speech organizations in calling for the online marketplace Redbubble to resume the sale of an editorial cartoon that criticizes President [...]
On May 19, 2020, an international coalition of arts and free expression organizations, including the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), IBEX Collection, Article19, PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), International Arts Rights Advisors, and Freemuse, launched Don’t Delete Art, a virtual gallery showcasing work which is banned or restricted on social media. The gallery, whose curators include frequently-censored artists [...]
Throughout its existence, NCAC has fought the censorship of art containing nude figures. Today, it is supporting the creators of the documentary series, NAK-ED, in their fight against body shaming. It is the idea that there is something shameful about the human body that leads to demands for art depicting the human figure to be repeatedly censored. The episodes will [...]
NCAC has filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to hear the case of a combat veteran who was arrested after he swore at a Department of Veterans Affairs employee on the telephone.
Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC's Director of Programs, presented a talk at the Harvard Law School Library on the effects contemporary moral outrage has on the arts and culture.
This list of our best resources on censorship and the First Amendment in schools will help you get ready for the school year.
Joan Bertin (former executive director, NCAC), Toni Morrison, Fran Lebowitz “The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, canceled films—that thought is a nightmare. As [...]
Over 100 teen filmmakers spoke Truth to Power for this year’s YFEP Film Contest. We invited teens to speak directly to those in power to lead change about issues that matter to them. The 12 finalist films tackled a wide range of polarizing, and often taboo, topics including gun violence, immigrant family separation, gender equality, toxic masculinity, shaming and [...]
While the bill's sponsors contend that it aims to stop sex trafficking, the bill does not help sex trafficking victims confront their abusers but does significantly curtail online speech.
NCAC condemns the recent move by the Trump administration to censor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by forbidding the use of certain words in official communications.
I woke up today. And when I woke up I thought of A friend. I thought of Kyle, I thought of Jack, I thought of Tamir And those who we have lost, Those who Cannot wake up. This stanza from an original poem by senior at Austin High School in Austin, Texas led to him being prohibited from reading it at his graduation. Pablo [...]
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has sent a letter to the superintendent of the Alamogordo, N. M., Public Schools, asking that the district rescind its removal of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from Alamogordo High School classrooms and the library. The ban, which was reported last week, came after a parent complained about content on one page […]
Today, in a 6-1 vote, the Randolph County, NC Board of Education voted to rescind its recently enacted ban on Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The original vote to remove it was 5-2. University of Illinois professor Emily Knox attended the hearing and live tweeted the proceeding. Here’s more on the story from Kathi Keys, the local […]
So You Heard About the SAGA/Apple/ComiXology Flap, and You Want to Know More About Digital Gatekeepers?
We can help with that! NCAC is concerned with censorship in all its forms, even those instances where private enterprises are within their legal rights to marginalize or ban content based on a point of view. Users engage with the Internet as a democratizing public square but, in reality, most of the online channels we rely on are controlled by [...]
Don’t mess with Abbe Klebanoff, the head of public services for Pennsylvania’s Lansdowne Public Library. She encouraged teens to create a music video called "Read It" to the music of Michael Jackson's song, "Beat It," and posted it on YouTube. What followed was predictable—Sony objected and took it down, claiming copyright infringement. The passionate Klebanoff, who spent weeks helping the teens [...]
A painting, included in a juried exhibition show at the Mansfield Art Center in Ohio, was partially covered with black paper. The painting had been selected for inclusion in the show, but the management of the Art Center decided that the outside edges of the work, which were covered with clippings from pornographic magazines, should not be seen by anyone. Sans [...]
We were able to chat yesterday with Amy Timberlake, the author of The Dirty Cowboy, (illustrated by Adam Rex). The book that has been at the center of a censorship debate outside of Hershey, P.A.. Two parents of a child at an elementary school objected to the nudity of the cowboy, calling it pornographic. Most likely hoping not to rock [...]
We spoke to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey about libraries that have banned their beloved trilogy, and erotica in general. This video was shot at an appearance by Grey author E.L. James at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in NYC. What do you think about libraries that have chosen to exclude all erotica, even while they carry works [...]
E.L. James’ erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey first made headlines as a phenomenal best-seller, topping the Amazon.com, New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists at 3 million copies sold. Now, not surprisingly, the book is getting attention for a different and disturbing reason: censorship. The book has been removed from public libraries in Brevard County, Florida, reportedly because [...]
We were saddened to hear today about the passing of beloved children’s book author Maurice Sendak at the age of 83. His books, the most well-known being Where the Wild Things Are, captivated the imaginations of readers both young and old with their sometimes dark, fantastical stories. Because of the nature of his tales, many critics and censors marked his [...]
Last week we sent a complaint to PayPal about its policy to shut down accounts of online merchants who sell erotica containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. Many other organizations have since registered their concerns over the policy. Today, PayPal posted a response on its blog. Unfortunately, it doesn't say much. It refers to "brand, regulatory and compliance risk [...]
Two years ago I sat upon the graduation stage to receive a diploma that would end my 13-year relationship with the public school I attended since kindergarten. As a member of a class of 125 students, this day symbolized endless shared memories and a common identity between us. Out of the five speeches given, the three student speakers [...]
On Monday, June 27th, the Supreme Court announced that upon returning from its summer recess in October, it would revisit the Federal Communication Commission's rule that allows it to fine broadcasters for “indecency.” Last year, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC was violating broadcasters' free-speech rights. The Court also stated that [...]
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is known for exhibiting a panoply of video game products and innovations, so IGN blogger Michael Tomeson recently quested to find video games dealing with sex. Despite a medium that presents simulated activities ranging from invading Normandy to designing entire civilizations, Tomeson noted the continuing informal ban on sexual content within the mainstream game market. [...]
Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) has introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP) to replace last year’s failed Combating Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). Supposedly a new and improved version of COICA, the PROTECT IP act is aimed at denying access to "pirate" or "rogue" websites "dedicated to infringing activities,” [...]
It’s true that the Smithsonian’s Flashpoints and Faultlines forum was too late for Hide/Seek, but keeping the issues alive months after the exhibit closed may be the right timing for the future of this public institution. It was no surprise that in his welcoming remarks Wayne Clough described himself as having no choice but to censor the artwork. Less expected [...]
A Seattle billboard removed by Clear Channel Outdoor It is appalling that the trustees of CUNY voted not to bestow an honorary degree on Tony Kushner, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, because a trustee disagreed with his views on Israel. Denying him this honor solely because of his political views violates core First Amendment principles and is [...]
Despite concerns the Smithsonian's Flashpoints and Faultlines forum would be a bland showcase designed to obscure the institution's commitments to First Amendment principles instead of examining them, last night's opening panels included direct criticism from the dais of Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough's decision to censor David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire In My Belly" from the Hide/Seek exhibit at the [...]
As blogged earlier this week, admins at the Marin Civic Center censored a painting of a nude female from an annual art show because an employee claimed it constituted sexual harassment. This morning, NCAC and the First Amendment Project sent Marin County a letter to show them the error of their ways. In it, we sought to explain [...]
The Marin County Civic Center has chosen to eliminate a nude painting by San Rafael artist Sylvia Cossich Goodman from a public exhibition. The full-frontal nude was accepted through what we can assume was a standard submission process, and was up in public for a week. So why take it down now? Because an employee complained it created "a hostile [...]
NCAC is adding to the global community of artists and institutions calling for the immediate release of the renowned Ai Weiwei, one China's most innovative and socially engaged creators. He was arrested at Beijing Airport this week for "economic crimes", and he alleges that in 2009 the security police attacked and beat him. Check out our call to [...]
Susan Burns, the woman who tried to tear a Paul Gauguin painting off a wall at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., stated her reasons thus: “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. [...]