USA: Freedom of expression violated when concert was shut down

3 August 2015


Chicago rapper Chief Keef was to appear via hologram from California in a concert in a public park in Hammond, Indiana, on 25 July 2015, but police officers shut down the concert because they were concerned that the hologram would pose a threat to public safety.

Chief Keef appeared via hologram on stage, but within minutes his performance was shut down by police.

Initially, the Redmoon Theater in Chicago had been set to host the show, but pulled out reportedly over complaints from the mayor’s office. Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott stated:

Chief Keef has “been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door…. I’m not going to invite someone that might be a threat to public safety.”
Thomas McDermott, Hammond mayor

Can government officials legally shut down a concert under such circumstances? UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh doesn’t think so, writing in the Washington Post that “the government may not restrict speech because of its viewpoint, or the viewpoint that the speakers had expressed elsewhere, which seems to have happened here.”

That goes for the decision in Hammond – or anywhere else. Other legal experts agree, reported the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Read the article:

» National Coalition Against Censorship – 30 July 2015:
Hip Hop Hologram: A Threat to Public Safety?
By Peter Hart

“The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression protects the infuriating, the baffling and the frightening from the impulses of those who’d silence them if they could.”
Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist

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