UPDATE: Gorilla at Bike Week sparks strong reaction

Sandusky police chief, the Bike Week organizer, the NAACP and others speak out about man who attended festivities Thursday dressed in gorilla costume with offensive sign and appendage
Courtney Astolfi
Jun 6, 2014

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. — Sandusky attorney Geoffrey Oglesby called the protest distasteful and ignorant, but protected free speech.

"I don't see it as racist necessarily; he just doesn't like the president," Oglesby said. "It's free speech against a lame-duck president. It's wasted free speech speech. It's kind of pitiful."

UPDATE 5 p.m. — The president of the Sandusky NAACP said he's received more calls and inquiries about the protester than any other recent issue, and he was disappointed in the man's protest.

"In 2014, this is happening now? You would think this would be gone. It goes beyond making fun of Obama. He's making fun of his race suggesting suggesting the president is the son of an animal," Jim Jackson said. 

"What that individual is doing is dangerous."

UPDATE from 3:40 p.m. — Sandusky police Chief John Orzech said there is a plan of action should the man return in the costume.

Sandusky officials conferred this afternoon to determine what, if any action could be taken, Sandusky police Chief John Orzech said just now in an interview with the Register. 

"We've had multiple complaints this afternoon. We've been discussing it with the law department and researching it all afternoon and we have a plan in place if the individual shows. I can't share our operational plan, but the issue will be addressed it if it happens again," Orzech said. 

Orzech said officials have to tread lightly in this situation, as they cannot infringe on the individual's constitutional right to free speech. However, that is not to say it will not be taken care of swiftly if the man returns to the festivities on Friday or Saturday.

"If he was just in a gorilla suit and doing it, we would be limited in what we could do, but if he's there with an enhancement, so to speak, there's some other issues we can address," Orzech said. 

"We dont want any violence or any of our local youth to react to someone like that. We're trying to get that (taken care of) so there isn't any violence," Orzech said. 

Orzech spoke with Sandusky NAACP President Jim Jackson and Sandusky law director Don Icsman today regarding the issue. 

Ohio Bike Week organizer Steve Ernst stressed this person was not hired or affiliated with Ohio Bike Week and his team in anyway.

He can certainly understand why people would be upset about the person and the message, however.

"But you can't stop people from being idiots," Ernst said.

"We want to handle this responsibly but it is a free speech issue," Ernst said.

If the matter were to become a safety issue event organizers may consider a designated free speech zone as is done at other events, he said.

Original Post: The man, who has not been identified, was wearing a gorilla suit, a gold necklace and a baseball cap. 

The costume also had an exposed dildo protruding from the genital area.

He also was carrying a sign that stated: "Obama's real daddy."

The Register is pursuing more information about the man, his demonstration and whether he will be allowed to return today.

Check back here for updates as they become available. 

Comments

sugar

Be careful, you could be in trouble for implying that. A**hole.

Gunholdjr

The dildo is the only thing he can be charged for. Even unpopular racist speech is protected. But the bigger issue is the whole concept of bike week. The City invites the most undesirable group of people imaginable into town in the name of tourism and then acts twice as surprised as everyone else when problems occur. What's next? Pedophile week in July? Arsonist week in August? Why not? Their money spends too!

Kelly

What undesirable group?

deertracker

Exactly? Who are these undesirable people you speak of? Bikers are good people!

2cents

If you believe in evolution, he would be everybody's daddy. : )

Florence Nightingale

What would be great is if everyone completely ignored him. Deny him whatever attention or reaction he's looking for. Unfortunately, I'm sure there were people high-fiving him - tasteless and classless, no matter what your politics are.

sugar

I did, shook his hand too!

Wald

It's strange that you want people to know how classless you are.

sugar

So you're idea of class is supporting a lying, inept, corrupt, anti American, disrespectful, military hating, self absorbed arrogant, failure? I see.

Wald

Obama has made mistakes, but if you truly think the President is all those things you listed then you are truly ignorant. And "you're" is a contraction meaning "you are", by the way.

sugar

When you have nothing you go for typos. What's the matter are you "truly" mad you're obama phone doesn't have auto correct?

sugar

Oh and I, and 100's of thousands of others believe these things.

jazzbo

WOW !!! That's a lot of ignorant people !!!

lc040103

No more offensive to some than the women who run around damn near naked

I

I find this very offensive...to gorillas!

SamAdams

The First Amendment was written not to protect paintings or poetry, but POLITICAL speech. The Founders were particularly concerned that citizens always be able to openly criticize the government after what they'd gone through when they disagreed with King George. Sure, free expression still applies to all forms of speech, but it's ironic that so many people are choosing to be offended by exactly the kind of expression the Founders most wanted to ensure remained free.

I don't care if some disagree. I don't care if some think it's racist or stupid or incendiary or offensive. The guy not only has the right to express his feelings, but the PROTECTED right (that means from the government AND from the rest of us as well) to do so.

I'd also note something that's very conspicuously missing from the Bill of Rights: You do NOT have the right not to be offended!

Pterocarya frax...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Yes, that does give him protection from the government regulating his speech, and from the statement by Orzech, it certainly appears they are abiding by that.

NO, it does NOT give him protection from "the rest of us" condemning him for it.

And finally, YES, I do have the right to be offended, and criticize him for his behavior.

underthebridge

+10

SamAdams

You're right. Your opinion and your right to express it, including condemning the gorilla's opinions, aren't (and shouldn't be) infringed, either.

As far as the "right" to be offended, well, I don't know whether that's an unalienable right or not since no one outside yourself can control it whether they'd like to or not. What's far more important is whether or not you use that offense to control OTHERS.

sugar

BFD

The Big Dog's back

sam, do you really think this is political speech?

SamAdams

Yes. The man obviously doesn't much care for Barack Obama. Is his speech eloquent? Nope. Is it offensive? Yep. Is it racist? I'm pretty sure the answer there is yes, too. But is he free to express his opinions, however right or wrong they may be? Absolutely.

If you don't support speech with which you disagree, you don't support free speech.

MattDamon

If I say I don't like president Obama because of a policy, decision, action or even an ideal then that's a political statement.

If I say I don't like president Obama because he's black that's not a political statement, it's just a statement. Not saying it shouldn't be protected under the first amendment, but it shouldn't be categorized under political speech because it's not.

This is just some idiot in a suit expressing his displeasure with someone who physically looks different than him/her

MattDamon

I'd be curious to hear what you find to be "political" about his demonstration

All I see is somebody trying to mock a politician because of his race.

sugar

Thank you, in the PC world the crazy libs have created we ate always looking over our shoulders.

looking around

Obviously he aligns himself with the right wing conservatives and typifies what they consider as acceptable. They will probably want to run him for office like Joe the plumber.

Doug7880

Oh great now he has been seen by just a few people at bike week and now the Register puts it out for all to see. I guess this person got what he wanted. good work SR.

WhatUbloginAbout's picture
WhatUbloginAbout

1ST amendment, Don't like it go live in Nazi Germany, or Russia. The dildo will be the only reason police can make him leave, not the monkey suit. With out the 2ND amendment there is no 1ST amendment. Don't like the 2ND amendment go live in the U.K. Tell the NAACP to do some thing with the black youth ruining the city of Sandusky!!

Curtis

As reprehensible as the gorilla may be, the cops conspiring with the city's legal department to do an end around of the first amendment should scare the bagebers out of each and every one of us. Geoffrey Oglesby is spot on with his assessment!

Justwow

I love it. I hopes he returns!

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