WASHINGTON – A Georgia state lawmaker with an unconventional grasp of the First Amendment is backing a bill that would make lewd photoshopping a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine.
Rep. Earnest Smith pointed, as proof of the problem, to a picture of his head that was recently edited onto a pornstar’s body. That image was created by a blogger who used the image to mock Smith.
The Augusta-based legislator said he was not worried the bill would step on First Amendment rights.
“Everyone has a right to privacy,” he told FoxNews.com. “No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right.”
The lawmaker did not provide any specifics of the legislation when contacted by FoxNews.com. After being pressed to provide details, he said, “At this juncture, I am not at liberty to share anything with you. I don’t have to. If and when this bill passes we can revisit the issue and if I choose to give you details at that time I will, but until then I don’t have to tell you anything.”
Smith first introduced his proposal a year ago. According to the bill’s summary, 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.” Smith introduced the legislation last year after a teenage girl was subjected to “online attacks.”
'Everyone has a right to privacy. No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right'
- Georgia Rep. Earnest Smith
However, after a picture of his head photoshopped on the body of a naked man stretched out on some rocks started circling the Internet, Smith renewed his efforts.
When asked if he thought his bill would target parodies -- which are protected by the First Amendment -- he said it didn’t matter.
“They (parody creators) live for something like this,” Smith said. “They are vulgar. This is about being vulgar. We’re becoming a nation of vulgar people.”
Not everyone shares Smith’s sentiments.
“He’s the conductor of his own crazy train,” one lawmaker told FoxNews.com.
Georgia Politics Unfiltered blogger Andre Walker said he’s behind the photoshopped pictures of Smith.
“I did exactly what Rep. Smith wants to make illegal,” Walker, who has referred to Smith’s bill as “asinine,” wrote on his blog. “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,” Walker said. “It attempts to regulate speech and I doubt it would stand up in a court of law.”
The blogger added, “I cannot believe Rep. Earnest Smith thinks I’m insulting him by putting his head on the body of a well-built porn star.”