Tell Georgia Representative that Edited Photos are Free Speech

Target: Georgia State Representative Earnest Smith

Goal: Stop supporting bill that would violate First Amendment rights by banning photo editing

Recently a prankster on the internet used a photo editing program to create an image of Georgia Representative Earnest Smith’s head on the body of a porn star. Smith became angry with the resulting image. In response, he created a bill that would make it illegal for photos to be edited to put the subjects in an inappropriate position. With this bill Smith hopes to limit what can be legally created with photo editing software. Limiting creation is limiting a form of expression protected under the Constitution.

The bill seeks to prohibit any ‘unknowing’ people to be identified as those ‘in an obscene depiction’, such as porn stars. Smith claims that he did not create this bill solely as a reaction to the prank, but the prank is the very thing he wants to make illegal. In a statement about the bill, Smith said, ‘No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right. This is about being vulgar. We’re becoming a nation of vulgar people.’ A clearly edited picture of a person is a prank, not defamation, and is therefore protected by the First Amendment. Even if Smith feels the prank was ‘vulgar,’ the prankster had the right to be so.

As a response to this egregious bill, the prankster responsible for the picture has stepped forward to defend it. According to prankster Andre Walker, ‘The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects all forms of speech, not just spoken word.’ The First Amendment protects freedom of expression as well as freedom of speech, and editing photos is a form of expression. The government should not be able to control this freedom because one lawmaker was offended by a prank. Tell Smith the picture is free expression and he should stop supporting this bill.


Dear Rep. Smith:

Recently you proposed a bill that would prohibit photo editing to create obscene images of people. This proposal came after an edited photo of yourself was released on the internet. The photo was clearly edited and meant as a prank, rather than defamation. With the bill, you seek to take away the right for people to make similar photo edits.

I ask you to stop supporting this bill. The First Amendment protects freedom of expression as well as freedom of speech. Editing photos is a form of expression. It is not up to the government to decide what supposedly obscene images should be legal when the Constitution protects the right to create them. Stop supporting this bill and protect that First Amendment right.


[Your Name Here]

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