‘Bigfoot’ Suing New Hampshire
CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) – It’s a headline you’d expect to find in the tabloids, but this is for real: Bigfoot is suing the government.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
Performance artist and filmmaker Jonathan Doyle, who likes to dress up as Bigfoot and wander Mount Monadnock, claims the state of New Hampshire is stomping on his civil liberties.
In 2009, park rangers kicked him off the mountain because Doyle had failed to purchase a required $100 special-use permit and special insurance.
At the time, Doyle and friends were in full costume, filming a documentary, when park manager Patrick Hummel interrupted the skit and kicked him out.
Doyle called the American Civil Liberties Union, and they agreed to take up his case, filing a suit that accuses the government of overreaching and violating his free speech rights.
“Mr. Doyle’s free speech rights here trump the interest of the state in regulating and requiring him to go get a permit,” said Jon Meyer, a lawyer representing Doyle. ”In a situation like this where you’re dealing with such a large park, there’s plenty of room for Mr. Doyle to engage in his performance art without interfering with anybody else or really requiring any regulation.”
Meyer talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens
A week earlier, 30-year-old Doyle had been out on the mountain filming and said no one complained to the state park service that time.
Doyle’s lawsuit claims the administrative rule requiring permits violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and expression.
Doyle spoke with WBZ-TV by phone today. He says, “I’m looking for them to recognize that this event shouldn’t have taken place the way in the way that it did and a project like this shouldn’t require a permit process and that I should be allowed to go back up the mountain and finish my project.”
He is seeking attorneys’ fees, nominal damages and the right to be allowed to videotape on Monadnock without having to get a permit.
Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge said the rule is constitutional.
Doyle set up a Facebook page to rally support. He also says he’s planning a new movie, but doesn’t want to give anything away.