As reported, frequent flyer John Brennan took a stand against the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) when he stripped naked at a Portland airport. He was subsequently arrested and charged with public indecency under Oregon law.
At his trial, Brennan argued that his nudity was protected free speech because it was a protest against the TSA’s invasive measures. Brennan said that “as a citizen and supporter of the U.S. Constitution, [he] was doing the right thing.” Indeed, the act of protest earned him internet fame as Portland’s “Naked American Hero.”
Unimpressed, the prosecutor argued that Brennan’s nudity was not protected as free speech because Brennan did not voice his complaints before he stripped nor had he any written message. Moreover, the prosecutor warned that if Brennan prevailed, then “any person naked for any purpose will be able to say it was protected speech.”
The Circuit Court Judge, however, ultimately agreed with Brennan that he was engaging in protected expression.