“R” meaning restricted, of course. The Kansas State Fair (Sept. 7 – 16) had required PETA to restrict viewing of PETA’s 13 minute video depicting livestock slaughter from people walking by PETA’s booth. As previously discussed in my Aug. 27th blog, PETA did not like the restriction and filed a lawsuit claiming their constitutional right to free speech had been violated. PETA asked the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas to block the restriction, but Judge J. Thomas Marten upheld the “R” rating.
Judge Marten felt the restriction did not significantly violate PETA’s right to free speech since PETA was not prevented from showing the video. PETA could easily comply with the restriction by turning the monitor away from the public strolling through the aisle. However, Judge Marten did not dismiss PETA’s lawsuit and expressed the restriction contradicted his own feelings about free speech. In the end, Judge Marten determined the fair was a “limited public forum”, granting the fair authority to responsibly control the atmosphere of the event. For the full story, check out Greg Henderson’s article in Drovers Cattle Network and Roxana Hegeman’s article in the Huffington Post.
The court may have correctly ruled the “R” rating was not violation of PETA’s right to free speech. However, PETA may not actually care considering the amount of media attention the video has received leading up to the fair.
PETA is contemplating appealing the decision to the 10th Circuit Court for an immediate ruling while maintaining the current lawsuit in the District Court.