A timeline of free expression issues that arose following the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests for racial justice.
As part of NCAC’s virtual Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders Benefit, we are happy to announce the Let Me Speak Design Contest Series, a collection of three unique art contests: Becky Albertalli Fan Art Portugal The Man Boycott the Book Ban Logo NCAC Youth Free Expression Film Contest Logo Each contest is an opportunity for artists and designers [...]
Editors Note: This statement was first published by NCAC and Defending Rights and Dissent on July 17, 2020. It was re-published on July 30, 2020 to reflect new developments and 45 additional co-signatories. Unidentified federal law enforcement agents in Portland, Oregon, have detained protesters, whisking them away in unmarked cars. This shocking practice is evocative of repressive methods used by [...]
NCAC is asking the University of Kentucky (UK) to cancel recently announced plans to remove a 1930’s-era mural depicting aspects of Kentucky history, including slavery. Some students have demanded its removal because they consider it demeaning to people of color on campus. In 2018, the university commissioned an installation by Karyn Olivier, a noted Black artist, that was painted above [...]
NCAC has joined several free speech organizations in supporting Oberlin College’s appeal of a $44 million libel judgment that threatens the free speech rights of its faculty and students. They filed an amicus brief in an Ohio appeals court on June 5. The case grew out of the arrest of three African American students in 2016 for attempted theft at [...]
WINDSOR, VT -- The Mt. Ascutney School District Board has removed Windsor School Principal Tiffany Riley from her position after she stated on her personal Facebook account that she disapproved of some of the tactics used by some Black Lives Matter activists. In response, NCAC has written to the school board urging them to rescind their decision to remove Ms. [...]
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 [...]
Editors Note: NCAC, joined by 55 organizations, released the following statement on June 8, 2020. The American people have witnessed the bravery of health care providers and other essential workers who have put their lives on the line to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Now that we face another national crisis following the death of George Floyd, it is important to [...]
Free Speech Is For Me aims to reverse the trend of free speech being pitted against advocacy for social change and equip a broad new range of individuals to challenge censorship, defend speech rights and champion freedom of expression for all activists.
On Thursday, NCAC joined with more than 30 press freedom, civil liberties and open government groups, led by Free Press, in submitting a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai. The letter urges Pai to cancel a vote scheduled for December 14, 2017 that will likely reverse net neutrality protections instated in 2015. Read the full letter below; [...]
NCAC is urging a Maryland school district to allow its teachers to display a series of posters promoting diversity and inclusion in America after administrators ordered their removal over concerns of political bias.
The posters were deemed to break the school's policy that forbids classroom materials that attempt to sway the political opinions of students.
The number of cases registered in 2016 more than doubled the amount registered in 2015, an increase of 119%, which translates to an extra 469 attacks.
NCAC participating organizations the Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund have sent a letter (PDF embed below) to Theater J in Washington DC in support of the venue's staging of Motti Lerner's The Admission. A group called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art has waged a smear campaign to vilify the play as anti-Israel. The reason we dramatists feel so strongly about this [...]
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 [...]
Sweden’s minister of culture has been in the global news spotlight recently, and not for her nation's propensity for neo-noir literature. Minister Lena Adelson Liljeroth was invited to attend and speak at World Art Day at Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art. The engagement took a turn for the bizarre when Liljeroth was invited by artist Makode Linde to cut into [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Perhaps you heard that the Arkansas State Legislature has banned students from wearing "clothing that exposes underwear, buttocks, or the breast of a female" at all school-related functions. So: Can they do that? Fire up the Free Speech Wayback Machine to 1969. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court ruled that school authorities could not [...]
In response to the national outrage over the removal of artist David Wojnarowicz’ video Fire In My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery following pressure from the Catholic League and Republican Congressional leaders, the Smithsonian Board of Regents formed an Advisory Panel*.
Policing The Sacred, organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship, looks at the volatile relationship between art, politics and religion.In recent decades the tensions between these have become intense, evident in the American culture wars of the 90s, the Danish cartoon uproar, and ongoing battles over artistic depictions of religious figures, including the recent removal of a David Wojnarowicz video from a show at the National Portrait Gallery. The panel, open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, February 9th, from 12:30-2 PM.
NCAC occasionally publishes guest blogs on topics related to free speech. The views in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAC, however they raise important issues for discussion. By Vel Nirtist How do you keep the unwashed masses known as the "public" from highly prestigious and quite remunerative pursuit known as "public debate" which rightly belongs [...]
Censorship continues full front attacks on all the arts. Two weeks into 2011, we've already seen censorship of David Wojnarowicz at the National Portrait Gallery; a new edition of Mark Twain's Huckelberry Finn hit the bookstores, without the N-word; the arrest of Belarus theater director Nikolai Khalezin of Belarus Free Theatre and now the Waterbury Connecticut school district is attempting [...]
On Thursday, January 13th, a new museum opens in Washington, DC: The Museum of Censored Art, founded by art and free speech activists Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone. Mike and Mike are the iPad protesters, who were expelled from the National Portrait Gallery when they attempted to show David Wojnarowicz's video Fire In My Belly in the galleries of [...]
The removal of David Wojnarowicz's video from the National Portrait Gallery last month renews conservative groups' attacks on the arts. Clearly, it's timed with the ascension of the Republican majority in the House and attempts to formulate a strategy for eliminating voices and ideas they find troubling. It's remarkable how unoriginal and inflexible their thinking and approach has become, using [...]
We were gratified to learn of a kind mention last week from librarian Lizzy Burns in her thoughtful blog A CHAIR, A FIREPLACE & A TEA COZY concerning one example of the kind of work the NCAC does every day. You can find the original post here. The latest wrinkle in the story: Revolutionary Voices has been pulled from not [...]
Its Banned Books Week and yet efforts to censor books in the U.S.A continue. In fact, just this past week, Ellen Hopkins, author of the Banned Books Week Manifesto was censored in Norman, Oklahoma. According to Ms. Hopkins, "I was supposed to do a school visit at Whittier Middle School. A parent went in complaining about content in CRANK and [...]
Being so busy with campaigns promoting “freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and central Asia, it’s hardly surprising that most of us here in the United States are unaware of an archaic and abominable practice that continues here at home - book banning. The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP), a collaboration of NCAC and the American Booksellers Foundation [...]
"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" -- William Shakespeare The day JuicyCampus shuttered, the website (juicycampus.com) began redirecting to College ACB (Anonymous Confession Board). With the same promise of anonymity, College ACB now provides us with the same gems JuicyCampus used to. Select any of the colleges in the drop bar, and [...]
An art installation, sponsored by the new Czeck EU Presidency, and displayed in the European Council building in Brussels has become a litmus test for EU sensitivities. The conceptual artist David ?erný was commisssioned to invite 27 artists from EU member states to represent their country as they see it. The idea was to gather specifically personal, non-government approved and possibly [...]
"Although a recession may propel some people to seek more procedures, many consumers will reduce or forego cosmetic treatments, [academics] said." Well, if you define free expression like this:
An incident at North Carolina State University in early November involving hateful words directed at President-elect Obama has sparked debate on campus about the extent to which Hate Speech is Free Speech. The debate has apparently spread to the UNC campus as well. ABC News, Chapel Hill reports: After the controversy over racist comments spray-painted in the Free Expression Tunnel [...]
Hubbard High School in Ohio is currently banning Casey Engstrom,19, from escorting his 17-year-old wife, Brittany, to any dances her senior year. The reason? Well apparently Hubbard High has a strict dress code policy against all forms of facial jewelry. Casey offered to remove the jewelery but Superintendent Richard Buchenic said that Casey will not be allowed to attend for [...]
We had our Annual Free Speech benefit last week and we have pictures to prove it. It was held at the incredible Rubin Museum of Art. Honorees were Ruth Gruber, Caroline Hirsch, Anthony Lewis, Barney Rosset, and finally Dan Rather. The winning films from the youth film contest "My Vote For Free Speech" premiered and the first place winners won [...]