The 'Naked' Truth! Protestor Wins Court Victory

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight. In Riverside County, California, Judge Robert Armstrong dismissed indecent exposure charges against a 40-year-old woman who disrobed in front of a 14-year-old boy. The judge said the law was too vague.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, you can pretty much walk around that town naked.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, a judge says Elizabeth Book, 44, can be topless in public she wants to be. Joining us now from Orlando is Ms. Brook and her attorney, Lawrence Walters.

Ms. Book, I mean, why do you want to walk around topless?

ELIZABETH BOOK, TOPLESS PROTESTOR: I don't particularly want to walk around topless. My crusade is simply to decriminalize the female breast. My indignation comes from the arrest of hundreds, if not thousands, of women in the Daytona Beach area for "daring to bare" as men do.

O'REILLY: OK, but I'm not getting this. Men and women are different, correct? Right, Ms. Book?

BOOK: In certain senses, yes.

O'REILLY: OK. I mean, do I have to walk you through this? Men and women physically are different. And the society mores here — maybe in the South Pacific it would be different, in New Guinea, perhaps — say that women's breasts are to be covered. This is our tradition in America and most western nations.

And if you don't cover up, if you're a woman or a man, and you put your private parts on display, this is a disruption to society. And therefore, there are ordinances against it.

So you say that, because you don't want to cover up your breast that there shouldn't be a law?

BOOK: Breasts I don't see as private parts. I nursed both my children with my breasts. Their sole biological function, on my body and on other female's bodies, is to nurture our young.

O'REILLY: But if you were to carry that analogy a step further, relieving yourself is a biological function, as well. I mean, should we be able to act out in public? I mean, there are a lot of biological functions that are private. I believe breast-feeding may be one of them.

And you know, you're basically saying that society — because I don't see it that way. And believe me, you're in America, you can see it anyway you want to see it. I want to impose my view on everybody else. Because you know people will be offended. Children will go, "Hey, Mommy. What's that?" You know what's going to happen.

LAWRENCE WALTERS, ATTORNEY FOR ELIZABETH BOOK: Wait a minute, Bill. That's not what happened here at all.

The city said you can do this. The city said you have a right to engage in topless or nude behavior if you are in the middle of a protest or demonstration.


WALTERS: She did that, and then she was arrested.

O'REILLY: That's loony. I mean, most — most ordinances. Daytona Beach is, you know, a pretty interesting place. Let me just put it that way. But I'm interested in Ms. Book's psychology here, counselor.

She knows, Elizabeth, you know people would be offended. You know children, particularly young boys, will lock in on this. So why for the greater good of society would you say I really don't want to be topless in any way in public?

BOOK: Well, as I said, I believe they should never be a criminal element of our bodies. Are you aware of the New York State Supreme Court findings from 1993? And that the Supreme Court of New York has decriminalized breasts, but you don't see their society falling apart.

O'REILLY: I don't think society would fall apart. I just think that you doing what you want to do is going to be offensive to many, many people. And I don't understand why you feel you have to do it. I don't get it. Why do you feel you have to walk around topless? Why?

BOOK: Why did Daytona [Beach officials] feel that they had to arrest hundreds if not thousands of young women for doing as men do?

O'REILLY: Because they didn't want the topless protests to be there. They wanted to have some civility.

BOOK: This was going on long before my protest. The reason for my protest was because I had witnessed these arrests. And so many of them, the sheer number of them said that this was a lifestyle choice.

O'REILLY: One more question. Do you think — do you think that everybody should be able to walk around topless, every woman should be able to walk around topless wherever they want? Do you believe that?

BOOK: I believe wherever a man goes top free, a woman should be allowed to go top free, as well.

O'REILLY: OK. So if men don't wear any shirts, you believe that women should be that way.

BOOK: We shouldn't be treated as dogs in the street.

O'REILLY: All right. I mean, France, I think, is in that category.

WALTERS: South Beach.

O'REILLY: Yes, South Beach.

BOOK: New Orleans..

O'REILLY: I think South Beach is a category of its own.

All right. Well, Ms. Book, there you go. We appreciate you coming on. Counselor, as always, thank you.

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