While the first amendment has been explored from virtually every possible angle, the one question that has long been unresolved since the founding of the Republic is what protection should be afforded to citizens who desire to dress as Bigfoot and scare hikers on federal lands. That question will now be answered in a lawsuit filed by Jonathan Doyle in New Hampshire.
With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Doyle is contesting the demand of the state that he pay $100 for a special-use permit 30 days in advance and acquire a $2 million insurance bond.
Doyle is an amateur filmmaker who loves to dress up like Bigfoot and scare hikers on New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock. He would then interview the hikers. He was told that he needed a special permit for such filming.
The ACLU is advertising its proclaiming under the legend “Even Bigfoot Knows His Rights.”
In the filing below, the ACLU argues:
In fact, there can be no question but that the plaintiff’s film project was expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment and Part 1, Article 22 of the NH Constitution. The newspaper got it right when it characterized the Bigfoot project as a “performance art piece.” (Exhibit 3 to Doyle Dep.) The plaintiff was using his film to express a message that individual hikers having a solitary experience on the mountain should come together to share a communal experience.
This is not a easy case for the ACLU. Filming permits are common on federal lands. However, the ACLU is citing a damaging email from one of the defendants, Hummel to his supervisor Brian Warburton. The email not only suggests arbitrary enforcement but a lack of actual complaints from hikers:
Labor Day Weekend, aside from the rest of the madness we went through, we had a college student dressed in a Bigfoot costume walking around the summit and trails and having someone videotape him.
Nothing new on Monadnock. Some people mentioned it to Mountain Patrol that day. But as more of an FYI rather than a complaint. We had more than 2,000 people on the mountain that day. We’ve had people do many crazy and absurd things on this mountain over the years. With safety concerns overriding investigating a Bigfoot costume that no one seemed to care about, patrol chose not to pursue the matter and neither did I.
I’ve had film students come into the park before, dress up in costumes, and film for class projects. Most students come and ask permission first. I go over ground rules with them, and make it clear the footage is only to be used for their class project. They film and leave.
This will be interesting to watch. Many people are unaware that in the first draft of his famous Federalist Paper 51, James Madison originally wrote:
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. If Bigfoots were to be prohibited by the government, neither Bigfoots nor non-Bigfoots would be seen in a free society In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
The Bigfoot reference was removed at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin who originally wanted Bigfoot to be the nation’s symbol and asserted a trademark claim.
Here is the filing: Doyle.MSJ_
17 thoughts on “New Hampshire Filmmaker Sues For Right To Be Bigfoot in State Parks”
great job john! keep doing your thing no matter what people say or think. your a talented artist. keep up the good work bud!
It’s about the 2nd best way to get killed.
The best is suicide by police.
Man I would shoot you so fast just for a little blood splatter just for DNA testing.
Think this over again.
1, March 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm
next fall he’s planning on putting on a deer suit and interviewing hunters
lol … so much so that husband asked me what was so funny … he’s laughing now
It seems to me that Madison glossed over the real question at issue here: Is the plural of Bigfoot, “Bigfoots” or “Bigfeet”? Everything else is just so much blather about “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”
If someone sneaks up on Bigfoot and stomps on his foot, he can call himself “really Big Foot”!
next fall he’s planning on putting on a deer suit and interviewing hunters
I’d think a bit of mace in the face might make Bigfoot think twice; a woman I know that runs carries the little purse-sized cylinder in her hand when running. Seems like a nice thing for the utility belt when hiking.
I wonder if he does his interviews while wearing the Bigfoot costume? That would be sort of surreal, sitting on a rock and being interviewed by Bigfoot.
I am glad that Professor Turley informed us of the now infamous missing Federalist language! Mr. Big should have the right to wear his suit in the park, but I am not sure he has the right to scare other park visitors. I do like Blouise’s idea that Mr. Big should be ready when a frightened hiker actually strikes back at the Big idiot.
I am a big supporter of the ACLU and understand why they took this case but the Park Service knows it has to provide for all the people who visit, including people like me. I can only hope that, should I run into this dude, the ACLU will provide my bail money and represent me in court.
“However, I have another most dangerous quirk in that I never think to turn and run but rather stand and fight. Which means a dude dressed up in a Bigfoot costume would scare the hell out of me and I would probably pick up the closest inanimate object and go after him with it.”
You’re my kind of gal!
I agree with you about the possibility of a guy dressed up in a Bigfoot costume scaring young children. One would hope that people could enjoy hiking peacefully in the mountains of New Hampshire without having some hairy creature jump out at them.
“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” … I’m going to be able to misuse that phrase all over this blog.
We took our kids hiking all the time. We carried them on our backs before they could walk. We take our grandkids all the time. I have to tell you that some bozo jumping out of the woods would have scared a 2 year old half to death and thoroughly ruined the day for the rest of us as we did our best to reassure the child that the woods weren’t filled with crazed men dressed up to look like child-eaters.
However, I have to admit that I don’t like horror movies and am not the least be fascinated with stories of Bigfoot so it is entirely possible that I am projecting my own fear of such things onto a child and thus taking a stance on less than solid ground.
However, I have another most dangerous quirk in that I never think to turn and run but rather stand and fight. Which means a dude dressed up in a Bigfoot costume would scare the hell out of me and I would probably pick up the closest inanimate object and go after him with it.
‘Bigfoot’ suit: NH is stomping on civil liberties
Doyle, who grew up in Keene and has attended several art schools but has yet to graduate, has done other stunts to elicit reactions. He created and drove a “Bat-Mobile” around Manhattan. He dressed as an angel and stood stock still in the main aisle of an Episcopal church. He also said he designs websites and murals and loves to paint.
“I don’t want to be locked in a Bigfoot suit forever,” Doyle said. “I’d like to be able to do more.”
I guess Doyle is just another young man trying to find himself.
Is hunting allowed in New Hampshire state parks? If so, this guy would win the Darwin Award.
Is it settled that guns are allowed in federal parks yet? If so, I’d think a larger insurance bond would be needed.
That Madison – a man ahead of his time.
Hummel (the defendant) says: …and make it clear the footage is only to be used for their class project.
Is that legal? By what authority can Hummel demand that pictures taken of a national park cannot be used commercially, or posted on the Internet? If a professional photographer takes a picture of a model standing on a peak in Yellowstone, is he not allowed to sell it, or publish it in a magazine? Does the government really own the scenery?
New Hampshire shouldn’t be messing with Sasquatch.
Ah yes…the Use Fee….Good for you GOP’s…..Why the hell not….Why can’t he film again if he pays the Fee?
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