A state lawmaker is hoping the Georgia General Assembly will take his bill to ban fake nude photographs more seriously now that someone has digitally imposed his head onto the body of a naked man.
“No one has a right to make fun of anyone. You have a right to speak, but no one has a right to disparage another person. It’s not a First Amendment right,” Rep. Earnest Smith told the Morris News Service on Monday.
Smith first introduced Georgia House Bill 39 last year, according to the Morris News Service, and it would make it a misdemeanor offense to alter a photograph that “causes an unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction,” according to the bill’s summary.
Morris News Service reports that Smith introduced the bill after a teenage girl was affected by “online attacks.”
Smith said he has not heard from any free-speech advocates who disagree with his interpretation of the First Amendment.
The Democratic lawmaker is hoping the legislation will get some renewed support now that a photo depicting him as a naked man stretched out on some rocks is circulating on the Internet, though he claims he has no idea who altered the picture.
But Andre Walker — a blogger who runs Georgia Politics Unfiltered — has taken credit for the nude depiction of Smith.
“I did exactly what Rep. Smith wants to make illegal,” Walker wrote on his blog Monday. “I pasted a picture of Smith’s head onto the body of a male porn star.”
“The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects all forms of speech, not just spoken word. That’s why House Bill 39 is so asinine,” Walker continued. “It attempts to regulate speech and I doubt it would stand up in a court of law.”
As for making fun of Smith, Walker wrote that he’s confused by how the Democratic lawmaker could come to that conclusion.
“I cannot believe Representative Earnest Smith thinks I’m insulting him by putting his head on the body of a well-built porn star,” Smith concluded.