WXXI AM News

Connections: Racism on Halloween...Is It Protected Speech?

Nov 1, 2016

Halloween is, sadly, an excuse for racists to put some awful imagery out in the public sphere.

Two fans at a Wisconsin Badgers football game dressed up as Trump holding a noose, with the noose around Obama. In Florida, a homeowner staged a mock lynching in the front yard, to the horror of neighbors. And a southern college is considering sanctions against a student who dressed up, in blackface, as Bill Cosby.

These actions are widely considered offensive, but are they protected speech by law? Or are there possible legal penalties? And what can we learn from this? Our guests: