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Entries in Mount Monadnock (1)

Thursday
Mar102011

'Bigfoot' Suing New Hampshire Over Expulsion from Mountain

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(CONCORD, N.H.) -- When self-described performance artist Jonathon Doyle put on a Bigfoot costume and started videotaping himself on New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock, just about everyone was more amused than scared.

But New Hampshire park rangers were anything but amused and ordered the 30-year-old Doyle off the mountain, saying he didn't have a permit to film there and hadn't posted the required $2 million bond.

Now, Doyle is suing the state with the help of the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

"We are suing the state because the state put too many impediments on his rights," said Barbara Keshen, an attorney with the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Keshen said that Doyle should have the right to go back and complete his video and anyone else should have "the right to commit small-scale expressive activity without government interference or government censorship."

The facts of the case are not in dispute.  In September 2009, Doyle and a couple of friends decided to make a movie on the top of Mount Monadnock.  The joke was that Doyle would dress up as Bigfoot and run around beating his chest and then ask people on camera if they had "seen" Bigfoot.  The whole thing was being recorded with a $150 video camera.

But park rangers failed to see the humor and ordered Doyle off the mountain. The rules and regulations in the New Hampshire park system require that film crews must pull a $100 special use permit 30 days in advance. To them, Doyle was just another filmmaker working without the necessary permits.

But in the lawsuit, the NHCLU said that the requirement of a permit infringes on Doyle's First Amendment rights to free speech and expression.

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