Honolulu, ACLU settle lawsuit over banned art
By The Associated Press
HONOLULU The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii on March 6 announced it has reached a settlement with the city over banned artwork at the city hall.
Daria Fand's artwork of a nude woman on a cross was banned from an "Art of Women" exhibit at Honolulu Hale last March because the city found her piece "controversial" and "offensive," the ACLU said.
The ACLU argued that banning the piece violated the First Amendment. The group also noted that other nude paintings were allowed at the exhibit.
"The First Amendment protects even controversial or offensive speech," ACLU legal director Brent White said. "Rather than risk offending certain individuals, the city deprived Ms. Fand of her constitutional rights and all of us of the opportunity to view the work of a fine artist and to make up our own minds about the piece."
As part of the settlement, the city will allow Fand's artwork entitled "Last of the Believers" to be displayed as early as this month and suspend a portion of its exhibit application form until it creates a policy that does not allow arbitrary content-based discrimination, the ACLU said.
The city will also pay the ACLU an undisclosed amount for attorney fees and costs.
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