Tennessee legislators have passed an extraordinary law that makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.
So… let’s say you draw a stick figure image of Muhammad and make it your Facebook profile picture. And someone is “emotionally distressed” by your despicable hate speech.
Next thing you know, you’re in jail or paying a steep fine.
It doesn’t even have to be that “extreme” — any image or cartoon that might offend someone could be illegal under this law.Governor Bill Haslam signed the bill into law last week.
Reader Micah points out another problem:
I’m kind of worried, because as a citizen of Tennessee and as a photographic atheistic artist, sometimes I like to depict religious movements in offensive, ironic ways in my photographs and post them on the internet for brief periods of time. My work is DEFINITELY offensive. So, do I lose my very right to be an artist and post my work on the internet by the very nature of this law? I know I can continue to show my work in art shows, but utilizing the internet is one of the biggest ways to get your name out there!
Can we get all of you in TN reading this to make a Muhammad image your new profile picture? Let them try and prosecute you. Let them take this to a judge. It’s obviously unconstitutional. I would think the ACLU would have your back.
The law shouldn’t hold up, right…?