Two residents of Asheville, N.C. have filed a complaint over activities that occurred at the National Go Topless Day Rally that was held in their city. The complaint was made on Friday by former vice-mayor and clinical psychologist Carl Mumpower and former Republican County Party Chair Chad Nesbitt.
The two men are alleging that local police were negligent in enforcing the law, and ignored illegal behavior at the August 26, 2012 Women’s Rights rally. Nesbitt and Mumpower sent an email to Lt. Sean Pound of the Asheville Police Department, in which they state, “a gentleman at the event [was] touching the breast of one of the performers.”
In addition to the allegations that a man was ‘fondling” the breast of a woman, the complaint claims that another man was seen with his mouth on a woman’s breast. The email continued, “Officers on duty failed to arrest a gentleman who, at one point in the event, made oral connection with a woman’s exposed breast and nipple.”
Nesbitt and Mumpower also held a photo contest for Go Topless Day, which some local residents have called ‘an attempt at intimidation.’ Prizes of $200 were offered for photos of the ‘most degrading moment for women, the most degrading example of public sexual performance and the most degrading example of child abuse.’
Go Topless Day sponsor Jeff Johnson, who is the general manager of a Pediatric practice in nearby Huntsville, Alabama, is adamant that nothing illegal occurred. He said the event was organized to give women, and their male supporters, a forum to make their case for equality. Women are angry that men are permitted to go topless in public, and they say they should have the same right. Johnson compared the participants in Go Topless Day to the Civil Rights marchers of the 1960’s.
Johnson was particularly upset by the attitude of Asheville’s mayor, Terry Bellamy. In the weeks before the event, the mayor sent a letter to local residents urging families and children to avoid the celebration. Referring to Bellamy, who is the city’s first African-American mayor, Johnson said, “Apparently the mayor has forgotten 1964 and the Civil Rights movement. As a matter of fact, that is why she is the mayor here and doesn’t have to sit in the back of the bus, because of those civil rights. We’re invoking those civil rights.”
Sadly, both the tactics of Nesbitt and Mumpower, and the letter from the mayor, may have been successful in keeping people away from this year’s Go Topless Day. Attendance was reported to be down by as much as 90 percent from last year’s rally. Richard Bernier, who was there in 2011 and 2012, said, “It was nothing like last year, I think part of it had to do with the city council issuing a letter basically telling people not to go to the event. Others undoubtedly stayed away because they didn’t want to be photographed and have videos of them posted all over the Internet.”
It seems the small Southern city of Asheville has become a microcosm of politics in America. The Right is up in arms over minor issues of morality, and they ignore the issues that really matter, such as the deficit and unemployment. At the same time, the Liberals hold their social protests, and when challenged, they resort to the race card, as Go Topless Day sponsor Jeff Johnson did with his “back of the bus” comment about Asheville’s Mayor Bellamy.
What is your opinion. Do you agree that women have the same right as men to go topless in public? Do you think Go Topless Day is a worthy celebration, or does it endanger the morality of children, who may witness partial female nudity?